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  • Thierry Spanjaard

M&As in IAM

The IAM – Identity and Access Management – market segment is experiencing one of these moments when, after a period of calm, all of a sudden, a series of mergers and acquisitions is coming up, totally restructuring the competitive landscape.

Amadeus – Vision-Box


Amadeus just announced it had acquired Vision-Box, a Portugal-based company that evolved from a manufacturer of eGates for border control at airports to a global supplier of IAM solutions. Vision-Box is strong with around 500 employees in 15 locations worldwide and announced a projected revenue of EUR 70 million and an estimated normalized EBITDA of close to EUR 20 million in 2023. Vision-Box now positioned as a leading provider of biometric solutions tailored for airports, airlines, and border control operations, is being acquired by Amadeus for an agreed price of approximately EUR 320 million.


Amadeus, originally set up as a neutral global distribution system to provide ticketing services for airlines, has evolved into a global group, headquartered in Spain. Now Amadeus is a global software solutions and services provider for the global travel and tourism industry. In addition to its organic growth and diversification, Amadeus has made a series of acquisitions, essentially of solutions providers for the travel ticketing and hospitality industries.  The acquisition of Vision-Box is an exception as the company is involved in hardware manufacturing, installation and maintenance. Vision-Box will bring Amadeus its extensive biometrics expertise and allow the group to expand to border control, regardless whether these borders are in an airport or elsewhere.


Entrust - Onfido

At the same time, Entrust announced it is acquiring Onfido, a major player in the world of identity verification using computer vision, machine learning and other AI tools. Onfido's core positioning revolves around identity verification solutions, in order to provide strong identity assessment and comply with KYC and AML regulations. Onfido says they have processed more than 200 million identity checks with 2,500+ document types and passports from 195 countries. The company has over US$ 130 million (EUR 121 million) in annually recurring revenue (ARR) and more than 500 employees. TechCrunch+ cites sources saying the acquisition goes for "well above US$ 400 million (EUR 372 million)."


Entrust, thanks to a series of acquisitions has become a major global player in our industry. The company starred as a PKI supplier in 1994. In 2023, it merged with Datacard, then the leader in personalization systems. The resulting organization was renamed Entrust Datacard, and then, in 2020 Entrust. In June 2019, as a side effect of Gemalto's acquisition by Thales Group, Entrust acquired the general purpose HSM (Hardware Security Module) activity and the nCipher brand from Thales. Entrust is privately owned, by a German family, the previous owners of Datacard, and is said to have "just under US$ 1 billion (EUR 930 million) in revenue annually," according to TechCrunch+.


HID - Evolis

At the end of last year, HID, a major player in leader in trusted identity solutions, confirmed it has acquired Evolis, a leading manufacturer of card printers and consumables. Headquartered in Angers, France, Evolis proposes a series of card printers for decentralized instant issuance of personalized cards. In this acquisition, Evolis, which employs around 380 people, was valued at EUR 228.4 million.


HID Global, an Assa-Abloy company, has grown into a global player in secure identity products. The company was formed in 1991 as Hughes Identification Devices, a subsidiary of Hughes Aircraft Company, focusing on physical access control. Over the years HID Global has grown though a secures of acquisitions. Among the most significant for our industry, one can name Motorola's RFID access control business in 2001, Fargo Electronics a card personalization tools vendor in 2006, ActivIdentity a supplier of identity hardware products and solutions in 2010, LaserCard with its own card printing technology in 2011, Identrust, a provider of digital identity services in 2014, IAI a provider of personalization solutions in 2015, Crossmatch biometrics specialist in 2018 and Access-IS, a developer of ID-dedicated readers in 2020.


Who's next?

These three acquisitions show a global trend of reinforcement of major players thanks to the acquisition of smaller more specialized players that had demonstrated their expertise.


One may remember, Idemia has been set for sale for a few years. The company just announced its reorganization in three divisions: Idemia Secure Transactions (IST), Idemia Public Security (IPS), and Idemia Smart Identity (ISI), which could lead analysts to anticipate the independent sale of each of these divisions to different acquirers.

Image credits: Bing image creator - Photo by Ben Sweet on Unsplash - Photo from Unsplash - Bing image creator

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