Sagem to buy Motorola's biometrics business

Motorola is selling off its biometrics business unit to SAFRAN, a subsidiary of Sagem Sécurité. The acquisition includes the Printrak trademark and product line, which is used for automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) in law enforcement and security applications.

The Printrak part of Motorola was purchased in the year 2000 for $160 million, but apparently was not a fit for Motorola some eight years later, despite landing projects like the El Savador national biometric ID card and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police AFIS system.

In announcing the sale, Motorola's president for the government and public safety division, Gene Delaney, said that the sale is occurring as Motorola shifts its focus on its core business of communications solutions. Motorola recently furthered its own focus on communications and networking with the acquisition of Air Defense.

“Biometrics is a very dynamic business that we believe requires companies to specialize in the technology,” said Delaney. "To best serve our customers and employees, Motorola made a judgment that we need to concentrate and lead in our area of strength - delivering best-in-class mission critical communications solutions for government, public safety and commercial customers."

And while the biometrics business wasn't a perfect fit for Motorola, Jean-Paul Herteman, CEO of SAFRAN, said the time was right for his company to make such an acquisition.

“This acquisition enables Sagem SĂ©curitĂ© to strengthen its position in the US market for homeland security where it is already committed to offer world-class identification solutions to government, state and local markets," said Herteman. "This acquisition is a continuation of SAFRAN’s long history of investing in the US. It is also an important step in our plan to improve our product offering, expand production in the US, and reduce costs."

The Motorola product line included technology for mobile fingerprint capture and identification, as well as enrollment and verification stations that could be used for a variety of identification purposes

Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, but the purchase is expected to close in late winter 2009.

Sagem Sécurité operates in the United States as Sagem Morpho, which is heavily involved in the identification and biometrics industry for homeland security and large systems integrators such as Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. Sagem Morpho also has a number of business relationships in place with state law enforcement and civil agencies as well as federal agencies such as the FBI.

More info:
SAFRAN Group of Sagem Sécurité: