Identix, viisage now one bio powerhouse

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

BILLERICA, Mass.--Rival biometric companies Identix and Viisage surprised the security industry in mid-January by announcing plans to merge to create one of the biggest biometric providers in the market.
The stock-to-stock merger is valued at $700 million and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2006. Identix shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of .473 newly issued shares of Viisage stock for each Identix share.
The combined company is expected to have revenues of $220 million and an 80 percent share of the biometric market. Together they will offer a comprehensive line-up of biometric security products, such as face recognition, fingerprint, and imaging identity solutions.
Identix is known as the leader in the biometric fingerprint market, while Viisage has a corner on the driver's license and U.S. passport business.
That is the type of company Robert LaPenta, chairman and chief executive officer of the combined company, sought to build when his investment firm L-1 Investment Partners bought $100 million in Viisage common stock. At that time he announced plans to build "a premier identity solutions company" and investing in Viisage marked the first step.
"This was a space littered with hundreds of players, a lot of technology, not a lot of management and not an infrastructure to take these companies to the next level," said LaPenta.
Combining Identix and Viisage changes that, he said. It also positions the combined company to command a larger share of the biometric and identity management initiatives coming from the federal government, such as the US-Visit program, Registered Traveler program and HSPD-12.
"This combination makes us a prime player in these programs," said LaPenta.
The combined company will operate from headquarters in Stamford, Conn. Of its 12-member board of directors, Viisage will designate seven and Identix five.
Once the merger is completed, Identix shareholders will own 59 percent of the combined company and Viisage shareholders will own 41 percent.