Inside Secure chipmaker has hired BNP and Jefferies to prepare for an initial public share offer, according to sources

Chipmaker prepares for flotation sources claim

Chipmaker Inside Secure has hired two banks for a Paris flotation, anonymous sources claim.

The French chipmaker specialises in so-called "near-field communications" (NFC) and hopes to benefit from technology that allows shoppers to buy goods by waving their smartphones.

Inside Secure has hired BNP Paribas and Jefferies to prepare for an initial public share offer and may be looking to raise about 80-100 million euros (£70-88 million), according to the sources.

NFC is a short-range way to swap data wirelessly, meaning mobile phones can become a way to pay for goods, store e-tickets, or swap photos and business cards.

NFC chips are starting to appear in devices such as Research In Motion's latest BlackBerry smartphones, and analysts forecast big growth.

Juniper Research has said that nearly 300 million smartphones, or one in five of the world's total, would be NFC-capable by 2014.

Inside Secure, based in Aix-en-Provence and led by chief executive Remy de Tonnace, will have to persuade investors it can stand its ground against NXP Semiconductors N.V., the Dutch company that claims it is the world leader in NFC technology.

The chipmaker must also stand its ground against others keen to break into the NFC field including French smart card maker Gemalto.

Inside Secure will also have to explain how NFC fits with its wider portfolio of secure-payment and digital-security products, which includes technology for biometric passports and chips that allow debit card users to make contactless payments.

Inside Secure bought Atmel Corp's smart-card business for an initial $32 million last year and a French newspaper reported last month that it was seeking to raise less than 100 million euros through an IPO.

BNP declined to comment. Inside Secure said it did not comment on rumours. Jefferies had no comment.

Further reading:

See a Reuters graphic on estimated NFC payments

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