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Sale of Idemia may net less, result in a bust-up

Categories Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes
Sale of Idemia may net less, result in a bust-up
 

Handicapping the sale of Idemia proves the advice about reading tea leaves. You have to drink the tea first. In this case, you have to believe that there is an entity in the world that both wants the biometrics integrator right now and can line up the money to buy it.

The leaves are another matter for this hoped-for transaction. They might give a soothsaying Chinese wu a headache.

As it happens, a breezy, gossipy article in the French news publisher Les Echos makes the case that any deal that satisfies Idemia‘s majority-shareholder/private equity firm Advent will be difficult to pull off, and maybe Frankensteinesque.

Advent initially dreamed of netting €6 billion (US$6.57 billion), but reality has turned out to be disappointing. Idemia was created by Advent through the €1.15 billion ($1.26 billion) purchase of Oberthur in 2011 and the €2.4 billion ($2.63 billion) acquisition of Safran Identity in 2016.

One possible outcome, according to the article, is a bust-up in which biometrics and cyber options are calved from Idemia. Breaking off 15,000 employees generating €2.6 billion ($2.85 billion) in profit might be more enticing.

A smaller deal at this time likely will draw more and more-earnest tire-kickers but also more interest from potential financiers. No one will be closing this deal without backing from one and probably multiple financial institutions. A Chinese company could do it, but that is almost unthinkable today.

Among the companies still sniffing around Advent, according to the article, are HID Global, NEC, Apollo and Brookfield. Private equity firms Veritas and CVC reportedly remain interested, too.

Thales could come in, but only if it could find one or more partners to assuage market-competition regulators.

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