Saflink sells Registered Traveler assets to FLO

Saturday, September 1, 2007

KIRKLAND, Wash.--Saflink, a manufacturer of biometric security technologies, announced last week the sale of its Registered Traveler assets to its subsidiary, FLO Corporation, for $6.3 million. Although Saflink continues to maintain an equity interest in FLO, it is no longer the majority shareholder. This comes roughly eight months after Saflink reorganized, reduced its workforce more than 50 percent, and focused its remaining employees on participation in the FLO Alliance, a group that includes Microsoft and Johnson Controls and is looking to capitalize on the TSA's Registered Traveler program, which allows private companies to offer expedited security checking at airports.
Now, said chief executive officer Steve Oyer, Saflink will look to capitalize on what it has already developed and cultivate new partners as pieces of larger products or solutions. "It takes a very big company to support large contractual relationships," Oyer said. "We are no longer trying to be everything to everybody. We're a very targeted technology provider." Saflink particularly will focus on identity assurance management solutions.
"Saflink is a technology company," Oyer explained, "and FLO is going to utilize that technology, but it is primarily a customer service security business, and the business model at FLO is very different from creating and licensing technology. It takes two different skill sets and two different demands on capital and infrastructure. So we first established standalone business units, and then, given Saflink's need to recapitalize, we were able to sell the majority of the assets of FLO to a new group, and it's no longer a wholly owned subsidiary of Saflink."
Glenn Argenbright, former Saflink head, is the president of the newly formed FLO Corporation.
Currently, according to the TSA Web site, FLO Corporation is one of only five organizations certified to offer Registered Traveler services to airports. The others are Unisys, Verant Identification Systems, Verified Identity Pass (owned by Steven Brill), and Vigilant Solutions. Registered Traveler programs are currently in operation in eight airports, including some terminals at JFK in New York City, the Orlando International Airport where Verified rolled out the first operational program, and the Indianapolis International Airport, also operated by Verified.
According to the FLO Web site, it is not currently operating at any U.S. airports, but its membership cards can be used to expedite security at any airport with any Registered Traveler provider. The U.S. government has said that all membership cards must be interoperable.