Apple has agreed to buy fingerprint reader AuthenTec for approximately US$356 million (€289 million) as the maker of iPhones and iPads looks to strengthen its digital security capabilities.
Apple’s acquisition comes as consumers use their smartphones for more and more daily activities, including shopping.
“As cell phones 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 at J. Steven Smigie.
AuthenTec said Apple is paying $8 (€6.40) for each of its common shares, a 58% premium to their closing price on Thursday.
AuthenTec’s stock jumped 64% in Friday afternoon trading, above Apple’s offer. That could suggest investors think there will be a higher bid for the company.
The deal was unanimously approved by AuthenTec’s board. It still requires approval from a majority of the holders of the 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 mobile phones, according to research firm Gartner, and dominates the market for tablet computers.