GE Capital Services's equity investment in Gemenos, France-based Gemplus-"significant" by some accounts-has some analysts praising the financial services company for its proactive strategy, while others are dubious of the venture's potential long-term benefits.

The apparent synergies between Gemplus and GE Capital seem too great to be coincidental benefits resulting from a standard corporate investment. "This gives (GE Capital) the keys to the castle around what the underlying technology is," says Chris Speer, partner of Deloitte & Touche's financial services practice. "They may, to some extent, be able to influence how it is developed and where it's rolled out." The possibility for that kind of joint effort exists, but the alliance status is still to be defined, says Gemplus North America president Brigitte Baumann. GE Capital officials declined comment.

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