French technology firm Sagem has acquired the ten percent stake in Gemplus owned by the smart card firm's estranged co-founder and former chairman Marc Lassus.
The transaction, worth about EUR67 million, brings to an end a long-running dispute between Lassus and the Gemplus board over the strategic direction of the company. The shares were sold by banks which were holding the stock as collateral against underperforming loans. Gemplus is expected to take legal action in an attempt to recover the assets, which it claims were promised as security against a EUR78 million loan to Lassus.
Sagem's acquisition of the stake was cheered by investors, who view the company's strengths in fingerprint identification and security as a good fit with Gemplus' smart card operations.