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Apple to Buy AuthenTec for $356 Million
Apple cut the deal for $8 a share, a 53% premium

Apple has quietly offered to buy publicly held AuthenTec Inc for roughly $356 million, according to an SEC filing discovered last Friday.

Fourteen-year-old AuthenTec does sensor-based fingerprint authentication, encryption and identity management for mobile devices.

Two weeks ago AuthenTec signed up Samsung, which Apple is suing for patent infringement, to use its VPN widgetry in its new Android-based Galaxy smartphones and tablets. There was speculation the alliance provoked Apple to act.

Apple will presumably use the stuff in the iPhone and iPad and could be thinking of device-based payments with fingerprints standing in for signatures. Under a separate $7.5 million deal Authentec is going to start working on a 2D fingerprint sensor for an unidentified Apple product.

Apple cut the deal for $8 a share, a 53% premium. AuthenTec is currently trading at $8.23 suggesting that Wall Street figures a higher offer may be flushed from the bushes.

Either Samsung will have to look elsewhere or make a bid of its own.

A break-up would cost AuthenTec $10.95 million.

The terms Apple agreed to say it's licensing some non-exclusive AuthenTec patents for $20 million. It has the right to license the technology non-exclusively for an aggregate $115 million. It has nine months to see what happens and decide.

The $70 million-a-year firm says it's shipped 100 million fingerprint sensors. Twenty million have gone into mobile devices.

AuthenTec's customers include Cisco, HP, Lenovo, LG, Motorola and Nokia.

The acquisition is supposed to close this quarter and will barely graze Apple's $117 billion bank account.

There are rumors the iPhone 5 and perhaps even the alleged iPad mini could be out in September.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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