Interview: Cross Match sale puts company in growth mode
16 July 2012 14:30 GMT

Cross Match ready for growth

Cross Match Technologies – one of the biometric industry's best-known players – has been in the shop window for "several" years. Today it is announced that the wait for a new owner is over, as Francisco Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm swooped in and purchased almost 100% of the company's stock.

The value of the overall deal is unknown, but the largest shareholder (albeit with a minority shareholding) - Smiths Group Plc, said it was to receive up to US$77 million for its stake, valuing the overall deal at a minimum of US$154 million.

For Francisco Partners this size of deal is typical. The company has deep pockets, having raised approximately $7 billion and invested in more than 100 technology companies over the last decade.

Cross Match president and CEO, David Buckley, told www.planetbiometrics.com: "One of the big reasons Francisco Partners is acquiring us, is that they like our strategy and trajectory. We are present in both the USA and in Europe and we stand a good chance of leading this industry. They also like the biometric space."

Keith Geeslin, a partner at Francisco Partners, commented in a press statement: “Biometric technology is growing in importance, and Cross Match, with its strong management team and quality brand, is in an excellent position to capitalize on this growth.”

As is typical for many equity firms, the focus will be on growing the company, realising a good return and then selling. At Francisco Partners this process appears take around four to seven years, giving Cross Match clear breathing space to focus on growth.

For Buckley this deal signifies a dramatic change for the company. "Cross Match has been focused on the sale of the company for a long time. We have been distracted for years. All that is about to change. The biometric industry will see in the next few months our focus switching to growth. There will be investment in new technology, strategic partnerships and acquisitions."

Buckley says it is fortunate that he has been in position for a year and a half already - "It means that a lot of changes will come more quickly - especially in R&D. Many changes and announcements will become apparent at this year's Biometric Consortium and Biometrics 2012 events."