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Oberthur looks to challenge Axalto/Gemplus merger

16 January 2006  |  5781 views  |  0 smartcard

The agreed merger of smart card vendors Axalto and Gemplus could face opposition from Paris-based rival Oberthur Card Systems which says it may call on the French financial regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) to investigate the deal.

According to a report by French business daily Les Echos, Oberthur has dismissed the idea of a counter-bid for Gemplus but is considering other ways of blocking the Axalto/Gemplus merger.

France's Gemplus agreed to merge with competitor firm Axalto in December under a deal that will create the world's largest smart card maker. The merged firm, called Gemalto, will reportedly have a 40% share of the global market in digital security cards.

But the Les Echos report says Oberthur chairman Jean-Pierre Savare is considering calling on the AMF and the shareholder activist group, Association pour la Défense des Actionnaires Minoritaires, to examine the implications of the merger for minority shareholders of the two firms.

Oberthur could also lobby the European Commission about the consequences for competition in the supply of digital security cards and bank payment cards if the merger goes ahead, says the report.

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