Amsterdam-based digital security vendor Gemalto has entered into exclusive negotiations to buy the banking unit of French authentication outfit Xiring. Terms of the proposed deal were not disclosed.
Xiring provides smart card-based authentication technology for online banking and e-commerce. It also works in the healthcare and electronic identity industries.
France's Banque Populaire and the UK's Co-op have both signed for Xiring's card authentication readers in the last year and, according to its Web site, around 12 million of the company's devices were in circulation in Europe by June - about 50% of the market.
However, the banking business has been hit hard by the recession and last month Xiring reported a 73% fall in third quarter turnover compared to the previous year, to EUR1 million.
For the first nine months, turnover generated by the unit's activities was EUR5.3 million, down 45.5% on the same period the previous year as banking customers postponed implementations.
Gemalto says the proposed acquisition - set to be completed by the end of the year - covers all current activities of Xiring's banking unit, with all the associated products, IP and technologies.