Apple grabs up mobile security firm AuthenTec for $356 million

Cupertino loosens the purse strings to acquire fingerprint security tech firm

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At last count, Apple's cash hoard stands at more than $117 billion, but they'll be making a withdrawal of $356 million after a report Friday confirming their acquisition of security firm AuthenTec.

Founded in 1998, AuthenTec specializes in fingerprint scanning technology specifically aimed at mobile products like Apple's iOS devices.

Apple's acquisition of the Melbourne, Fla.-based security firm is Cupertino's second largest to date, which includes AuthenTec shareholders receiving $8 per share - a nearly 60 percent increase over Thursday's closing stock price.

Security advantage

Current "top tier" AuthenTec customers include Apple patent rivals Nokia, Motorola and Samsung, who together with a handful of other corporations have bought up more than 100 million of the company's fingerprint scanning sensors.

The firm specializes in sensors than can be embedded into computers and are capable of reading the image of a fingerprint while also detecting motion and patterns.

Apple's acquisition also includes a $20 million payment for non-exclusive licenses and "certain other rights with respect to hardware technology, software technology and patents."

Additionally, this gives Cupertino 270 days to purchase related technology and patents on the same terms for an additional sum of up to $115 million.

The iPhone maker is expected to incorporate AuthenTec technology into future iOS devices in an effort to beef up their security, which is becoming increasingly more important as business become attracted to the iPhone and iPad.

Via The New York Times