Apple Confirms Anobit Purchase: Report

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) acknowledged its purchase of Israeli flash memory specialist Anobit on Wednesday, according to a media report.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed the acquisition in a telephone interview with Bloomberg, but did not elaborate on the company's plans for Anobit. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Dowling said.

Rumors of a possible deal had swirled in recent weeks. It's believed Apple made the purchase to secure flash memory parts for its iPad, iPhone and Mac lines. Anobit was already a supplier to Apple prior to the acquisition.

Reports suggested Apple paid somewhere between $400 million and $500 million for the company, though Apple did not disclose the price. If true, this would make it one of Apple's largest acquisitions ever, and may suggest a strategy shift when it comes to acquisitions.

Back in December, the office of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote a tweet welcoming Apple to Israel. "Welcome to Israel, Apple Inc. on your 1st acquisition here. I'm certain that you'll benefit from the fruit of the Israeli knowledge," it tweeted.

There had been speculation that Apple might acquire a flash memory company, with some speculating Fusion-IO ( FIO) as a potential target. Fusion-IO's Chief Data Scientist is Steve Wozniak, an Apple co-founder.

Apple may also build a research & development center in Israel, following in the footsteps of companies such as Microsoft ( MSFT) and Intel ( INTC).

Apple could not be immediately reached for comment on this story.

Apple shares were sliding Wednesday, off 0.5% to $421.03.

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-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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