Apple Acquires Fingerprint Sensor Maker AuthenTec for $356 Million [Update]

Looks like Apple has acquired mobile and network security company AuthenTec for $356 million, or $8 per share, according to Reuters:

AuthenTec Inc (AUTH.O), which makes fingerprint sensor chips used in personal computers, said it agreed to be bought by Apple Inc (AAPL.O) for about $356 million.

Apple’s $8 per-share offer is at a premium of 58 percent over AuthenTec’s Thursday close of $5.07.

AuthenTec’s about page on their website details what they are all about:

AuthenTec is a leading provider of mobile and network security. Our diverse product and technology offering helps protect individuals and organizations through secure networking, content and data protection, access control and strong fingerprint security on PCs and mobile devices.

AuthenTec encryption technology, fingerprint sensors and identity management software are deployed by the leading mobile device, networking and computing companies, content and service providers, and governments worldwide. AuthenTec’s products and technologies provide security on hundreds of millions of devices, and the Company has shipped more than 100 million fingerprint sensors for integration in a wide range of portable electronics including over 15 million mobile phones.

One particular technology worth noting is their Smart Sensors technology, as it can be used for mobile wallet purchases, enhancing transactions via smartphones.

AuthenTec was founded in 1998 and is based in Melbourne, Florida. Their customers include Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Fujitsu, HBO, HP, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Samsung, Sky, and Texas Instruments.

Back in May, Authentic announced the release of their new ‘made for mobile commerce’ smart sensor, the AES2750. This smart sensor’s fingerprint sensor array is 192 pixel by 8 pixels wide has numerous security features such as hybrid fingerprint matching (on sensor match + host match) along with encryption in a tiny package.

Seeking Alpha predicted back in early June AuthenTec could be the perfect fit for the next generation iPhone for Apple’s entry into the mobile wallet payment system.  They pointed towards an earlier NFC patent noted by Patently Apple that shows space left of the home button that seemingly would fit a biometric slit from AuthenTec.

It was revealed earlier by the WSJ Apple has purposely delayed their ambitions for a mobile wallet, rather announcing Passbook in iOS 6 instead. Recent trademark applications filed in Canada for Passbook has hinted at future possible ‘iWallet’ ambitions by Apple as well. Today’s acquisition all but confirms Apple has plans to implement biometric security into future iOS devices or computers.

TechCrunch reports this announcement was first noted in an SEC filing. What makes this morning’s acquisition interesting is Samsung recently signed a deal with AuthenTec for VPN security for those workers that choose to ‘BYOD’ in the Enterprise field. This should be interesting.