Viisage acquires Iridian for $35 million in cash

Published 18 July 2006

Viisage continues in its aggressive acquisition campaign to expand and enhance its position as a provider of multimodal biometrics

Talk of a restless company: Billerica, Massachusetts-based Viisage Technology took another step to expand and strengthen its portfolio of biometric systems for homeland security and access control by acquiring iris-scanning company Iridian Technologies, of Moorestown, New Jersey, for $35 million in cash. This is but the latest acquisition by Viisage.

Since last year, when veteran defense executive Robert LaPenta orchestrated a $100 million investment in Viisage, the company has used strategic acquisitions to expand from its initial core in facial-recognition technology into fingerprint and iris biometrics. In January Viisage spent $770 million in stock to buy Minnetonka, Minnesota-based fingerprint biometrics provider Identix. The following month Viisage acquired Martinez, California-based iris scanner SecuriMetrics for $28 million in cash.

The Iridian deal is expected to close next month. Iridian, which has twenty-seven employees and is privately held, is to be combined with SecuriMetrics. After the deal is complete, LaPenta expects to rename Viisage as L-1 Identity Solutions to reflect the company’s status as a full-service biometrics vendor.

Viisage’s acquisition of Iridian is a smart move as the latter own valuable intellectual property, which LaPenta believes will be a vital asset as the iris-recognition market grows in coming years. One reason for the growth in the iris scanning segment is the development of software which can capture iris images from tens of feet away, and without the subject standing still.