Gemalto Acquires Cinterion Wireless Modules

6/29/2010

Market consolidation continues to impact the M2M (machine-to-machine) module business. The company widely cited as the market leader in this space, Cinterion Wireless Modules, www.cinterion.com, Munich, Germany, will be acquired by Gemalto, www.gemalto.com, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Gemalto, a digital security company and SIM-card maker, says the acquisition will provide synergies to the company, as it sees the M2M module business as adjacent to its current activities.

Gemalto says that combining Cinterion’s modules with Gemalto’s experience in deploying software and services for mobile network operators will simplify deployment, and it will allow Gemalto to extend its play in the M2M value chain.

“We are taking the leadership position in a fast growing market, the market of smart machines that paves the way to the ‘Internet of things,’” Olivier Piou, CEO, Gemalto, said in a statement. “Together with Cinterion we can address the strong interest of our largest customers, the mobile network operators in M2M and team up with them to offer the M2M market the right combination of advanced software, premium devices, and remote management services that has historically been successful in our SIM card business.”


Gemalto has been looking to hook up with an M2M module company for some time. In October 2008 the company made a bid to buy Wavecom, but Wavecom fended off the attempted takeover and was subsequently purchased by Sierra Wireless, www.sierrawireless.com, Richmond, B.C., a company that develops modules in addition to a wide variety of other connectivity products, such as modems, gateways, and data cards.

With its dedicated focus on M2M cellular modules and its strong market position, Cinterion should satisfy Gemalto’s desire for a module business. Originally a part of Siemens, Cinterion was spun out as an independent company in 2008, and owned by a handful of financial backers. Then, in March 2010, Cinterion announced it was opening insolvency proceedings in Germany, which it characterized as a financial reorganization aimed at restructuring debt, not as an indication of actual insolvency.

Are dedicated M2M cellular module companies a dying breed? In addition to Wavecom’s acquisition by Sierra Wireless, we have also seen Kyocera Wireless actually fold its M2M module division, and now Cinterion will become part of Gemalto, a company with its hands in many connectivity pies. With module prices facing constant pressure, standalone module providers will likely have their work cut out for them.

Gemalto says it will pay €163 million in cash for Cinterion, and the transaction is expected to close within six weeks. Following the acquisition, Cinterion’s business will become part of a new business segment at Gemalto dedicated to M2M.





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