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Various factors may have come into play regarding Ingenico S.A.’s Dec. 19 rejection of an unsolicited, nonbinding offer.

The France-based point-of-sale terminal maker, which publicly acknowledged the $1.9 billion bid last week, said in a news release the company making the offer “has not been in a position to submit a binding offer that could be accepted by the board.”

Washington, D.C.-based Danaher Corp. reportedly was the unsuccessful bidder, though Danaher representatives did not respond to an ISO&Agent Weekly request to confirm that report.

The French government apparently also views Ingenico as a “strategic” company, according to a Reuters news services report. The report also says that Safran, a France-based defense firm partly owned by the French government and Ingenico’s largest shareholder, also wanted a minority stake in the enterprise if it were sold.

State Involvement

That position may make it more difficult for a foreign company to buy Ingenico, analysts suggest.

“It doesn’t seem like they outright rejected the offer,” says Gil Luria, an analyst at Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities. “It’s not necessarily completely off the table.”

Companies such as Danaher will continue to be attracted to companies like Ingenico because of the revenue potential they offer, Luria says.

Safran’s involvement, if accurate, would be a significant factor in the bid rejection, says George Sutton, analyst at Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC, a Minneapolis-based investment research firm. “The rejection of the bid, driven purely by Safran’s insistence of a minority stake, smacks of the same state-based logic that unwound the Potash deal a couple of months ago,” Sutton tells ISO&Agent Weekly. In November, Australian mining company BHP Billiton failed in its bid to buy Canada-based Potash Corp. because of Canadian government opposition, Agence France-Presse reports.

Still Attractive

Despite the failed bid, Ingenico and other payments companies remain attractive targets, analysts say.

“As the industry consolidates, Ingenico’s position becomes even more impressive to a third party,” Sutton says. “Electronic payments continue to be a good macro growth area that any growth-minded industrial or technology company, a la Danaher, would find attractive.”

Ingenico has a strong presence in the high-growth payments industry, Luria says. “Ingenico is the global leader, at least for another nine months,” he says, alluding to the planned merger of POS terminal-making rivals VeriFone Systems Inc. and Hypercom Corp.

Conglomerates also may find a combined VeriFone-Hypercom attractive, Luria says. “Conglomerates want to diversify,” he says. “This is one way to do it.”

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