SEC filing sheds light on Apple’s AuthenTec purchase, fingerprint readers likely coming to iOS devices soon

We told you in July that Apple was acquiring 230-employee mobile security company AuthenTec. At the time, we mentioned the company holds 200 patents covering security solutions such as fingerprint sensors, and we noted Apple could possibly use the tech in a future wallet application. We get a little bit more insight into the deal today with an SEC filing (via TNW) that reveals some specifics about the merger.

The document detailed that Apple negotiations began in late 2011 when AuthenTec approached “several leading consumer electronics companies” about acquiring a new technology. After an agreement with Apple made in February 2012 to acquire the new technology fell through, Apple ultimately offered to buy the company:

On May 1, Apple decided it wouldn’t be satisfied with a commercial agreement and notified AuthenTec’s representatives of its proposal to acquire the company instead. Apple offered a price of $7.00 per share, valuing AuthenTec at a 115% premium over the closing price of its common stock as a day previous, pricing that Apple believed “other potential buyers would be unwilling to pay.”

Before the deal closed, Apple argued its offer was “very attractive” since a deal with other companies would require developing for “dozens of different smartphone platforms, in contrast to Apple’s unique narrow product platform, which allows for unity of design in component parts across significant unit volumes.” As for the new technology that Apple was presumably after, it appears to be fingerprint related. While there is no specific description of “the new technology,” the filing explained that the IP agreement part of the deal is where Apple reserves the right to the “commercialization of 2D fingerprint sensors for use in or with Apple products”:

The IP agreement provides Apple with the right to acquire non-exclusive licenses and certain other rights with respect to hardware technology, software technology and patents of the Company for commercialization of 2D fingerprint sensors for use in or with Apple products. For the right to acquire such non-exclusive licenses and other rights, Apple will pay us $20.0 million. Apple will have 270 days from the date of the IP agreement to choose, in its sole discretion, to license certain hardware technology and patents and certain software technology and patents from us on a perpetual, non-exclusive basis for an aggregate sum of up to $115.0 million. Apple can choose to acquire either the non-exclusive hardware technology and patent rights ($90.0 million), the non-exclusive software technology and patent rights ($25.0 million) or both.

There are no direct clues that Apple plans to incorporate this technology in next-generation products, but there are hints that it was trying to move quickly and is potentially already beginning development with the tech:

As a result of its focus on timing, Apple’s representatives also informed the Company that Apple would not participate in an auction process and would rescind its proposal if the board decided to solicit alternative acquisition proposals for the Company. Mr. Ciaccia responded that he would convene a board meeting to discuss the proposal and would revert to Apple with the board’s position on Apple’s proposal…. Apple emphasized its requirement that the development of the technology would not be interrupted regardless of whether the proposed transaction was completed. On the evening of July 19, the parties agreed to the key terms of the IP agreement and the development agreement

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.