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Apple Acquires Fingerprint Security Firm AuthenTec

Apple just closed thursday the biggest deal it has ever done in quite some time. For the fingerprint security company AuthenTec, Apple will pay $356 million. The cupertino firm gains fingerprint security authentication and a related portfolio of security patents.

The Authentec buyout is the second biggest deal in Apple’s history, just behind its $400 million purchase of Anobit Technologies last year. Authentec is a public company and it shares closed on thursday at $5.07.  Apple is paying $8 a share, amounting to a 58 percent premium. Under the terms of the deal, AuthenTec will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple.

Authentec’s website says the company has shipped more than 100 million sensors to date with clients that include several of Apple’s biggest competitors in smartphones and tablets, as Motorola, Nokia and Samsung. It seems that Apple will become the new supplier to Samsung via the Authentec acquisition.

Apple’s reasons for purchasing AuthenTec remain unknown but according to Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, Apple is likely to tap the company’s strength in security for corporate networks: “It could be mobile payments, but it’s also likely security in general.”

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