AuthenTec Sued by Investor Over Apple Takeover

AuthenTec Inc., the electronic fingerprint-authentication provider that Apple Inc. is buying for $356 million, was sued by an investor who contends the price is too low.

AuthenTec directors have a duty to get the best value for shareholders and wrongly accepted Apple’s bid of $8 a share, the plaintiff, Craven Lee, said in a Delaware Chancery Court complaint made public today in Wilmington.

“AuthenTec, if properly exposed to the market for corporate control, would bring a price materially in excess of the amount offered,” Lee said in the complaint.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, agreed to acquire AuthenTec to gain fingerprint-authentication and encryption security technology for the iPad and iPhone. Under the agreement, Apple also has the right to pay patent licenses totaling as much as $115 million.

AuthenTec, based in Melbourne, Florida, makes fingerprint sensors that corporations use to secure access to computer networks. The company would have to pay Apple a termination fee of $10.95 million in cash if the company decides to accept an alternative offer, according to court papers.

Brent Dietz, a spokesman for AuthenTec, didn’t return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

AuthenTec fell 1.7 percent to $8.26 at 12 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. Apple fell 0.6 percent to $606.86.

The case is Lee v. AuthenTec Inc., CA7735, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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