Global ePoint, Astrophysics negotiate deal

Thursday, September 1, 2005

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif.--Negotiations are still under way in an acquisition that would mark video surveillance company Global ePoint's first move into the X-ray segment of the security market.
Global ePoint, which entered the security market earlier this year with its Perpetual and Sequent product line launch, is working on an acquisition deal with Astrophysics.
The companies, which are located in the same office building here, announced in June that a non-binding letter of intent had been signed. Astrophysics was to receive $10 million in cash and 50.1 percent of outstanding Global ePoint common stock in the deal. The acquisition was expected to be finalized by July 31.
On Aug. 4, however, Global ePoint issued a statement saying, "the parties have reached an impasse and it is currently uncertain whether the parties will be able to reach a definitive agreement."
Officials from both companies refused to comment further except to say that discussions are ongoing in the hopes of resolving the impasse.
If the proposed acquisition does take place, it will mark Global ePoint's first entrance into the x-ray security market.
Global ePoint has many customers in the United States and abroad in the aviation, military, law enforcement and industrial markets and does a lot of business in Germany and other European countries that have mandates requiring surveillance systems in aircrafts, said Walter Haldeman, director of marketing for Global ePoint.
Astrophysics is known for its research and development, engineering and manufacturing operations, said Phillip Wascher, the company's vice president of sales and marketing. He said the X-ray screens that Astrophysics manufactures have a newer platform and fewer components than others. "Our machines have image manipulations that others don't. For example, ours can do an eight-times zoom with no pixel distortion," he said.
Astrophysics is developing the new X-ray security detection systems and working closely with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to ensure they meet anticipated, new guidelines for Homeland Defense.
Like GE-owned InVision, Astrophysics makes X-ray equipment used in airports. The two are not direct competitors, however, because they sell to different segments of the market.
Both Wascher and Haldeman noted that Francois Zayek, Astrophysics' founder, has been involved with projects involving X-ray imaging and detection in the past that received multi-million dollar funding from the former Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense, Wascher said.
Astrophysics has 50 employees here and 35 independent sales representatives throughout the world. It is privately owned by approximately five stockholders, Wascher said. Its customers include airports, government buildings, customs, hospitals and prisons.