Viisage is the one for L-1's investment

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

STAMFORD, Conn.--Only five months after forming, L-1 Investment Partners made its first investment in the biometric security market, with an agreement to buy $100 million in Viisage common stock.
The investment by Robert LaPenta's firm--LaPenta is founder of Lockheed Martin spinoff L-3 Communications--is the company's first step to invest in the identity solutions market.
"Our strategy is to find a platform company ... and to build what we believe will be the premier identity solutions company in the world," said LaPenta, founder and chief executive officer of L-1.
LaPenta said Viisage, with its drivers license and U.S. passport business, stood out as a solid investment thanks to its continuing revenue stream of more than $50 million a year. And, he believes that products such as drivers licenses and passports will serve as the platform for future identity solutions in the United States.
For Viisage, the boon to its business is the added investment to accelerate its acquisition strategy, according to Maureen Todaro, vice president of corporate communications for Billerica, Mass.-based Viissage.
Last year Viisage completed three acquisitions. It bought ZN Vision Technologies, Trans Digital Technologies and Imaging Automation, with each company providing inroads in the identification market.
The $100 million investment by L-1 is expected to close before the end of this year. Once completed, L-1 will become the single largest shareholder in Viisage. Other investors in Viisage include Buddy Beck, former chief executive officer of Trans Digital Technologies, and Lau Technologies. Viisage spun off from Lau Technologies in 1996.
USBX Advisory Services served as an advisor to Viisage on this transaction.