The owner of smartcard maker Oberthur Technologies, Advent, has now entered into exclusive talks with French defense giant Safran over a US$2.7bn sale of the latter’s ID unit.
Private equity fund Advent reportedly wants to acquire the biometric business and merge it with Oberthur, which it bought in 2011.
French SIM card maker Gemalto had also been among bidders interested in the assets being sold by Safran, which include several biometrics and identity projects.
Advent’s bid was highest, however, beating another three players that made a Safran shortlist.
Advent said a combination of the Safran business, which was formerly known as Morpho and counts governments and police forces among its clients, with Oberthur, which provides payment-security services to banks and other financial institutions, would be “uniquely positioned to accelerate the convergence between government and commercial markets”.