“As cellphones become essentially credit cards, consumers will look to secure them in the event of theft or loss. AuthenTec’s fingerprint sensors offer one way to secure handsets,” said Raymond James analyst J. Steven Smigie.
It’s not known what Apple’s plans are. Rival devices running Google’s Android system are starting to come with a wireless technology that can let phones make payments with the tap of a reader. Apple’s patent filings hint at an interest in the technology, known as near-field communications, but the notoriously secretive company has given no clue when the technology might show up in iPhones. A new model is expected this fall.
Beyond protecting payments, a fingerprint system could keep unauthorized people from accessing email, contact lists and more. Current phones offer protection through passwords, which can be guessed or forgotten.
The deal was unanimously approved by AuthenTec’s board. It still requires approval from a majority of the holders of the Melbourne, Fla., company’s stock. AuthenTec has about 44.5 million outstanding shares, according to FactSet.
A higher offer for AuthenTec is possible. In a regulatory filing, AuthenTec said it’s not allowed to actively seek out other offers, but it could hold talks with other parties before its stockholders approve Apple’s buyout terms.
While Apple said earlier this week that its growth rate slowed in its latest quarter, massive sales of its iPhones and iPads in recent years have made it the world’s most valuable company. It’s the third-largest maker of cellphones, according to research firm Gartner, and dominates the market for tablet computers.
- Apple ICloud: New Security Concerns
- Apple stock hits its highest level ever
- WH Smith, to take on Amazon eBook reader, and access to 2.2million titles
- Lost iPhone just one headache for Apple security
- Samsung buys Sony’s stake in LCD joint venture for $939 million