3M paying $230M for Israel’s Attenti, which makes people monitoring technology

By Samantha Bomkamp, AP
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3M buying maker of people tracking devices

NEW YORK — Manufacturing conglomerate 3M Co. said Tuesday it has agreed to pay $230 million in cash for an Israeli company that makes technology used to keep track of people.

The deal marks the second technology company purchase in two days for 3M, which is increasingly stepping away from its Post-It and Scotch Tape roots in favor of technology that’s allowed it to grow its business at a faster pace out of the recession.

The Israeli company, Attenti Holdings SA, makes systems that use global positioning system and radio frequency technology to track, for example, the movements of people awaiting trial or are on probation and those of patients in senior care centers.

3M already makes a range of products in its track and trace solutions segment like document readers and verification systems or tools that can be used for locating buried power lines and tracking inventory.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter pending regulatory and other approvals. 3M expects the deal to slightly boost earnings within the first year after the acquisition closes. Attenti has about 340 employees at locations in Israel, Australia, Bulgaria and the United States. Full-year sales are expected to be about $100 million.

The deal comes a day after Maplewood, Minn.’s 3M said it will pay $943 million for Cogent Inc., which develops systems that read finger and palm prints and makes iris and face recognition systems. That deal is also expected to close by year’s end.

3M’s electronics and communications segment showed the most growth out of the company’s six business units in the most recent quarter. The segment’s operating income more than doubled while revenue jumped 31.6 percent to $726 million.

Overall, 3M’s second-quarter profit jumped 43 percent to $1.12 billion. Revenue rose to $6.73 billion from $5.72 billion a year earlier.

Its shares slipped 51 cents to $79.14 in premarket trading Tuesday.

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