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M&A frenzy is coming up

Week 27, 2006

The payment terminals industry is undergoing a major restructuring. The most recent events showing this ongoing trend are the acquisition of Lipman by Verifone and the acquisition of Moneyline by Ingenico. The security industry in a broad sense also experiences major changes. The emblematic RSA security is acquired by EMC storage group.

Now, one may wonder what is going to happen in the smart card industry itself. After Gemalto creation, Giesecke & Devrient became the de facto #2 of the industry, closely followed by Sagem Orga and Oberthur Card Systems. These three companies will undoubtedly want to join in the race for critical size. They may consider mergers between any two of the three players, or joining forces with new entrants in the industry such as the Chinese smart card manufacturers. According to permanent rumors, many of the Chinese manufacturers have already considered more than just alliances with the major European smart card manufacturers.

Another option is that existing smart card vendors could be acquired by larger companies coming from the IT sector, the software or the security industry. Because of its low valorization and its spread out shareholders equity, even Gemalto can be the target of a hostile bid, Olivier Piou, its CEO, recognized recently.

We've got fascinating times ahead of us. Stay tuned for more adventures!

Thierry SpanjaardChief EditorSmart Insights