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Apple to acquire fingerprint sensor maker AuthenTec for $356M

Apple has reportedly reached a deal to purchase AuthenTec, a security company best known for creating fingerprint sensors, for $356 million.

The asking price of $8-per-share represents a 58 percent premium over AuthenTec Inc.'s closing price of $5.07 on Thursday, according to Reuters. Among other products, AuthenTec creates chips that drive secure fingerprint sensors in personal computers.

In addition, the company also makes software, hardware and applications that work with fingerprint sensors. AuthenTec also offers security toolkits and VPN client solutions.

One service that the company provides is security for a near-field communication based mobile e-wallet. Rumors have persisted that Apple is interested in adding an NFC chip and e-wallet functionality to a future iPhone, perhaps as soon as this fall with the launch of iOS 6 and its new Passbook application.

The acquisition agreement was approved with unanimous consent by AuthenTec's board this week, according to Bezinga. The deal is not yet finalized because it requires approval from the majority of outstanding shares of the company's common stock, among other final steps.

Based in Melbourne, Fla., AuthenTec announced earlier this month that its QuickSec VPN security product was chosen by Apple's rival, Samsung, for use in new Android-based smartphones and tablet models. The company's QuickSec Mobile VPN Client for Android allows secure communication through an Internet Protocol Security-based VPN client.

AuthenTec has shipped more than 100 million fingerprint sensors for integration in a wide range of portable electronics, including more than 20 million mobile phones. Some of its clients include Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Fujitsu, HBO, HP, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Samsung, Sky and Texas Instruments.