Apple to Buy Fingerprint Security Company

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has agreed to buy AuthenTec Inc. (NASDAQ: AUTH) in a deal valued at about $356 million. That comes to $8.00 per share, compared to $5.07 at Thursday’s close.

AuthenTec produces fingerprint sensor chips and security software for mobile phones. The Melbourne, Fla.-based company has annual revenue of about $70 million. Lenovo Group Ltd., Fujitsu Ltd. and Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) are among its customers.

It’s worth noting that earlier this month, AuthenTec closed a deal with Samsung Electronics Co. that would put its QuickSec VPN security into new Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android-based smartphones and tablets. Apple and Samsung have a long-running disupte over patents as they fight for marketshare in the competitive mobile devices space.

Shares of AuthenTec are now trading near $8.25, leading some to speculate that investors are willing to bet Apple could face a competing bid.