The group which owns security firm Oberthur Technologies, Advent International, is leading a chase for Safran’s Morpho identity unit with a bid of about 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion), financial media reports.
People close to the matter told Bloomberg that this bid is slightly higher than Gemalto offer, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. Three other groups led by buyout firms have also made lower bids, the people said. No final decisions have been made and Advent may not be the winning bidder ultimately, they said.
Safran, which is 15 percent owned by the French government, may decide on the fate of the unit in coming weeks, one of the people said. If Advent’s bid is successful, Morpho could merge with the buyout company’s Oberthur business, a French company that provides payment security services to banks and other financial institutions.
Safran is seeking to sell Morpho, a unit that makes high-tech identification tools for governments and investigative software for police forces, to focus on its core business in aircraft and rocket engines. Earlier offers ranged from 2.1 billion euros to 2.3 billion euros in July, a person familiar with the deliberations said this month.
Representatives for Advent, Safran and Gemalto declined to comment.