SCM/Hirsch to add Bluehill

Further progress toward standards-based, end-to-end logical/physical access solution
Thursday, September 24, 2009

SANTA ANA, Calif., ISMANING, Germany, and ST. GALLEN, Switzerland—German identity solutions supplier SCM Microsystems, which last year merged with California access maker Hirsch Electronics, announced this week a merger with Bluehill ID, which will add card technology that will allow the vendors to offer a more end-to-end solution. Bluehill operates the Multicard, TagStar, Arygon, Syscan and ACiG brands.

“It broadens our portfolio for both the logical and physical side,” said Bob Beliles, vice president of Enterprise Business Development for Hirsch Electronics, speaking form the ASIS International show floor. “Where before we had to rely on other vendors for card technology, this will stop us from having to do that.”

According to a release, shareholders of Bluehill ID who accept and tender their shares in the offer are expected to receive 0.52 shares of SCM's common stock for every one share of Bluehill ID. If all of the Bluehill shareholders accept the offer and SCM acquires 100 percent of the outstanding Bluehill ID shares, approximately 60 percent of the outstanding shares of the combined company would be held by the current SCM stockholders and approximately 40 percent of the outstanding shares of the combined company would be held by the current Bluehill ID shareholders.

Bluehill CEO Ayman Ashour was previously a member of the Hirsch board of directors and will now become chairman of the SCM board. He’s known, said Beliles, as an expert in mergers and acquisitions, and used to be with Assa Abloy.

Beliles also emphasized that, while there may be a new opportunity to grow gross margins by not having to resell other companies’ products, this does not change the open nature of the SCM/Hirsch product suite. In fact, at the ASIS show, Beliles was proudly showing what he said is the first standards-based physical/logical access control solution that directly ties physical location to network access.

“Think of it as Twitter for access control,” he said by way of explanation. “The physical system tweets and the logical system receives the messages and knows what to do with them.” For example, network access can now be denied to a user who enters a user name and password but has not badged into the building. Similarly, if a user forgets to log out of a system and badges out of the building, the network access is immediately terminated.

The Hirsch solution is built on the Trusted Computing Group’s IF-MAP standard, which allows for a network to account for physical location as part of its network access control system.

The deal with Bluehill is expected to close within the next six months.