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Report: Apple Finalizing Acquisition of PrimeSense

Report: Apple Finalizing Acquisition of PrimeSense

A number of sources, according to AllThingsD, confirmed over the weekend that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is in the final stages of negotiations to buy Israeli startup, PrimeSense.

PrimeSense is best known as the original supplier for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)’s gesture-based Kinect gaming device.

The sources cited by AllThingsD said the deal, while “close,” is not final. A price tag of $345 million was noted by Israeli financial news website, Calcalist. The company was recently valued at about $250 million by investors.

The deal, if it goes through, is expected to close by the end of this week, AllThingsD said.

The PrimeSense model on which Microsoft based Kinect included a large sensor. The company has since developed a much smaller version, called Capri, which many consider suitable for use in mobile devices.

Speculation about Apple’s interest in PrimeSense centers around use of the technology in everything from iPad to iPhone to Apple’s often discussed HD television set. In addition to serving as an alternative video game controller, 3D sensing could provide a platform for a new type of television remote control based on gestures The Wall Street Journal said.

Related: Apple Investing Billions Into its Supply Chain

Calcalist also said earlier this year that Apple was in the process of acquiring PrimeSense. Following the latest incarnation of that rumor, Apple had no comment and PrimeSense issued the following statement according to The Verge:

"We are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and Natural Interaction to the mass market in a variety of markets such as interactive living room and mobile devices. We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or re-cycled rumors."

Apple has a history of buying companies in order to use their technologies in new Apple products. The most recent example involved the acquisition of touch control solutions company, Authentec last year followed by the release of the iPhone 5S complete with fingerprint sensor.

Business Insider cited a Calcalist report that the $345 million deal was slated to be signed and announced in early Nov., but held up by “legal issues with developer partners.” Calcalist said others interested in acquiring PrimeSense included Samsung (OTC: SSNLF) and Sony (NYSE: SNE).

It’s worth noting that Apple filed patents of its own related to 3D gesture-based technology. This has led to some speculation that Apple’s interest in PrimeSense included preventing rivals from having access to the company’s technology.

The most persistent rumored use path for PrimeSense technology, however, remains related to television. Apple’s Steve Jobs told biographer, Walter Isaacson:

"I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

While many assumed Jobs’ comments were in reference to Siri, they could just as easily have been in reference to gesture-based technology.

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.


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