Advent Confirms Talks to Buy Oberthur Tech

Advent International said Thursday that it has entered exclusive negotiations to buy the card systems and identity divisions of Oberthur Technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed. Press reports have said Advent is looking to buy 60% of the French smartcard maker in a deal valued at $1 billion euros ($1.44 billion).


Advent International, the global private equity firm, and Oberthur Group announced today that they have entered into exclusive negotiations for the acquisition of the Card Systems and Identity divisions of Oberthur Technologies.

The Card Systems Division specialises in security based on smart card technology. It is the world’s second largest provider of security and identification solutions and services for mobile, payment, transport, digital TV, and convergence markets. Clients include mobile operators, financial institutions, transport operators and conditional access system providers.

The Identity Division is a world leader in the manufacturing of secure identity documents, such as passports, identity cards, driving licenses and healthcare cards, and associated services for both governmental and corporate markets.

Jean-Pierre Savare, founder of the group, and his family would retain a minority stake of about 10% in the company. The transaction would be valued at €1.15 bn. The proposed transaction requires workers’ council consultation and is subject to the approval of relevant market authorities.

Pascal Stefani, Head of Advent International in France, said: “The Savare family has an outstanding track-record in this industry which we intend to build on. We look forward to participating in the development of a world-leading French technology business across all segments: payment, telecommunications, and identity.”

Cédric Chateau, Managing Director with Advent International added; “Advent benefits both from a leading international network across many regions, including Latin America, and extensive breadth of expertise in the banking and telecommunications industries via its investments in the electronic payments sector, including RBS WorldPay in the UK, Fifth Third in the United States and Cetip in Brazil.”

Jean-Pierre Savare, President of Oberthur Group said: “Advent International’s expertise in technology, in particular in electronic payment, is proven. I am very confident in their ability to support the strategic growth of the Card and Identity activities. This project would be the next exciting phase in the history of our group, which would concentrate on its fiduciary activities.”

Three principal avenues for growth will support the development of the company in the coming years:

The electronic payment sector benefits from growth in volume driven by emerging markets, as well as new developments in mature markets
In telecommunications, the company presents an innovative and attractive offer which should benefit from the strong development of NFC (near field communication)
In the Identity Division, the company is already a well established leader in secured documents with multiple uses (citizenship, healthcare, licences, conditional access) and has strong growth potential.

Advent International would also support the company’s growth through potential external acquisitions that may further enhance the technological development and growth of the company.

About Advent International

Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the world’s leading global buyout firms, with offices in 17 countries on four continents. A driving force in international private equity for 26 years, Advent has built an unparalleled global platform of over 160 investment professionals across Western and Central Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. The firm focuses on international buyouts, strategic repositioning opportunities and growth buyouts in five core sectors, working actively with management teams to drive revenue growth and earnings improvements in portfolio companies. Since inception, Advent has raised €19.4 billion ($26 billion) in private equity capital and, through its buyout programmes, has completed over 250 transactions valued at approximately €40 billion ($50 billion) in 35 countries.

About Oberthur Technologies

Oberthur Technologies is a world leader in the field of secure technologies: production of banknotes, cheques and other fiduciary documents, intelligent systems to secure cash-in-transit and ATM, systems development, solutions and services for smart cards (payment cards, SIM cards, access cards, NFC…) and for secure identity documents, traditional and electronic (identity card, passport, health care card). Oberthur Technologies has 6,800 employees through 40 countries and 65 sites. The Group posted 2010 sales of €979M.