Authentec, a leading provider of mobile and network security, has been acquired by Apple for the sum of $356 million. Under the terms of the deal Authentec will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple. Yesterday Authentec shares closed at $5.07, Apple is paying a 58 per cent premium on this valuation at $8 a share. That’s a nice profit for current Authentec share owners who bought-in after the mid 2008 stock market crash.
Authentec is best known for producing fingerprint sensors, NFC chips and security software for mobiles. One of the biggest customers of Authentec is Apple’s arch foe Samsung, as can be seen from the corporation’s news page detailing recent deals. Other major Authentec customers include Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, Dell and Lenovo.
Apple used to be famously smug about its operating systems security and lack of malware. Pride comes before a fall and Apple’s virus and malware imperviousness gloss seems to have been tarnished by recent news. The Authentec acquisition appears to be timely, judging by the growing concern and awareness of security issues among Apple users. If you look at the Authentec website you can see that the company has quite a wide range of security solutions from hardware “smart sensors” to software for identity management, VPN networking security and DRM streaming content protection.
Apple intends to use finger print sensors in forthcoming products, as AllThingsD found by rooting about in the US Securities and Exchange Commission documents concerning the acquisition. Authentec are working on a project “…solely for the purpose of developing a 2D fingerprint sensor for Apple that is suitable for use in an Apple product.” Apple will also get its hands on a large stash of security technology related patents…