Apple buying Fingerprint Sensor maker AuthenTec

Apple buys Authentec
Apple Inc will buy fingerprint sensor technology developer AuthenTec Inc for about $356 million, in a deal that could put its iPhone at the center of the emerging mobile payments market. 

Apple is paying $8 per share, a 58 per cent premium, for Melbourne, Florida-based AuthenTec, w hich c ounts Korean mobile de vice maker S amsung Electronics Co Ltd among its big customers.

AuthenTec which makes fingerprint sensor chips used in personal computers and mobile devices -- is one of the very few public companies that has been acquired by Apple, a company that rarely does acquisitions and tends to buy mostly startups when looking for cutting-edge technology.

AuthenTec, which was spun off from Harris Semiconductor in 1998 and went public in 2007, provides mobile security software licenses to companies like Samsung, and fingerprint sensor technology to computer makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc.

Its fingerprint technology, which is also used in mobile phones in Japan for authentication of mobile payments, could help Apple bring those services to markets such as the United States, where mobile wallet services have been slow to catch on.

Some analysts expect the next version of the iPhone to include some form of mobile payments technology.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on how Apple plans to use AuthenTec's technology.


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