Apple is paying $356 million for fingerprint sensor company Authentec, according to a financial regulatory document that was filed today (via Reuters). Apple will apparently be paying $8 per share of AuthenTec, which is over 50% more than the trading value following the close of the market on Thursday. The deal means that Apple will gain access to AuthenTec’s significant panel of technologies and patents related to fingerprint sensors.
AuthenTec is a company that is focused upon the development of fingerprint sensor technologies, both hardware and software applications. Many of the technologies developed by the company have been used in mobile devices, such as those produced by Motorola, as well as PC manufacturers like HP and Dell. The company is over 200 employees in size but no terms have been detailed on how the acquisition will proceed other than AuthenTec ‘surviving the Merger as a wholly owned subsidiary”.
The purchase makes sense in the context of Apple pursuing the development of the iPhone, or other iOS devices, as mobile payment platforms through the use of NFC, or via personal identification devices. Whether Apple chooses to initially use AutheTec’s software or hardware features, or indeed both, is the intriguing question.
Certainly, fingerprint authentication for an NFC payment with the iPhone would be a pretty sweet feature.