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By Sachin Ravikumar
(Reuters) - Facebook may have unveiled its new identity at a glitzy event on Thursday, but shares of a lesser-known Canadian industrial materials company surged in an apparent case of mistaken identity.
As Facebook metamorphosed into Meta, shares of Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Meta Materials Inc jumped 6% in opening trades on the Nasdaq on Friday, following a 26% rise in after-hours trading. Facebook shares were up 1.6%.
Meta Materials' stock has already been a favorite among retail investors using Reddit and social media, recording wild swings in recent months. It hit an all-time high of nearly $22 in June.
The company, which specializes in designing materials used in a variety of industries including consumer electronics and aerospace, has a market value of $1.3 billion, according to Refinitiv.
This is not the frst instance of shares reacting because of mistaken identities — Zoom Technologies jumped at the height of the pandemic, when the world flocked to the simiarly named video conferencing service.
But it was unclear whether just the similarity in names or a coordinated push by "meme-stock" investors — or both — was driving Meta Materials' shares higher.
"Is the (after-hours) price action real, or are people buying MMAT thinking they are getting Facebook for really cheap?" asked one user on a Reddit community dedicated to discussing Meta Materials' stock, that was created this March.
Meta Materials CEO George Palikaras also appeared to get in on the fun on Thursday, tweeting: "On behalf of @Metamaterialtec I would like to cordially welcome @Facebook to the #metaverse."
Palikaras pointed to a company announcement from Thursday about an upcoming online talk featuring executives from Meta Materials, Facebook's virtual reality (VR) division and other companies, when Reuters emailed Meta Materials for comment.
Facebook's name change was revealed at its virtual and augmented reality conference on Thursday.
Social media was abuzz with news of Facebook becoming Meta, with posts poking fun at the move receiving the most attention.
"Changing name to Meat," burger chain Wendy's said in a tweet liked by nearly 250,000 users. Twitter's official handle wrote: "BIG NEWS lol jk still Twitter", garnering some 226,000 likes.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)