Advent International is reportedly the lead bidder for Morpho, the biometrics unit of Safran SA.
According to a report by Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the matter, Advent International, which also owns security software company Oberthur Technologies, made a $2.7 billion bid for the company, putting it in first place to acquire it.
The bid is a little higher than an offer from Gemalto, Bloomberg reported, noting three other groups being led by buyout firms submitted lower offers. A final decision hasn’t been made, which means Advent International may not end up being the winning bidder.
The report went on to note that Safran could decide on what it will ultimately do with the biometrics unit during the course of the next few weeks. If Advent International is victorious, it is likely Morpho will be merged with the Oberthur business. Oberthur is based in France and provides payment security services to banks and other financial institutions. Morpho makes identification tools for governments and investigative software for police forces. Safran wants to sell the unit to better focus on its core businesses, which include aircraft and rocket engines.
Earlier this year, Morpho announced it would work with Visa to show off new ways people can pay for things using biometric recognition technologies. The technologies are applied to existing payment methods — be they credit cards, mobile or debit cards, ATMs or point-of-sale terminals — to make transactions more secure for financial institutions and more convenient for customers. Morpho and Visa showed off their work at the Mobile World Congress earlier in the year, as well at Visa’s innovation center at its San Francisco headquarters. Some of the demonstrations included biometrics for proximity payments, including the use of MorphoWave technology, which is a biometric solution capturing and matching four fingerprints with a single hand movement in less than a second.