Safran Enters Exclusive Negotiations to Sell Morpho to U.S. Private Equity Firm
Advent International is offering Safran $2.7 billion to acquire the identity and security business.
PARIS – Safran is negotiating to sell its Morpho identity and security business to U.S. private-equity firm Advent Int’l for an “irrevocable offer” of $2.7 billion, the French aerospace and defense firm said on Thursday.
In a joint announcement, Advent said it plans to merge Morpho with smart cards and security identity systems provider Oberthur Technologies, which it bought in 2011, to create a group headquartered in France with $3.15 billion in revenue.
The potential sale of Morpho to Advent would value the business at $2.7 billion and result in a pre-tax capital gain, partially state-owned Safran said in the statement.
Advent was on a shortlist of bidders said to include digital security firm Gemalto and three funds: Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners and KKR, Reuters reported.
Safran said the Morpho business had revenue of $1.8 billion in 2015 and employs 7,800 people in more than 50 countries.
For Safran, the deal would complete its refocusing on core aerospace activities after it agreed earlier this year to sell Morpho Detection, which makes explosives detection equipment, to British engineering firm Smiths Group.
Safran said the transaction will be submitted to employee bodies and is expected to close in 2017, assuming regulatory approval in Europe and the U.S.
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