Diebold, maker of touch-screen voting systems that have brought controversy after controversy upon the company, said Thursday that it will sell off most of it's elections-related business, calling it a losing investment and a persistent "distraction."
The Ohio-based company said it told Texas-based Premiere Election Solutions to former rival vote machine manufacturer Election Systems & Software for just $5 million. Diebold purchased the company for $31 million in 2001, noted Ohio newspaper The Canton Rep. The company said its sale will force a pretax loss between $45 and $55 million.
"For the last couple of years the elections business has been a distraction," a spokeswoman told the Rep.
"Diebold retains certain existing liabilities, including an ongoing lawsuit involving the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, and shares with ES&S other liabilities in connection with the elections systems business," added The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"Diebold was the industry's biggest maker of electronic voting machines heading into the 2004 elections," noted The Wall Street Journal. "Security concerns have dogged electronic voting. The company in early 2006 decided to seek options for the U.S. elections business, including a potential sale. Diebold essentially separated the company from the rest of Diebold in August 2007, having no direct operational involvement in the business."
Included in the deal, Diebold said it would also collect 70 percent of Premiere's accounts payable, added Reuters.
The sale concludes Diebold's involvement in North American elections, either in the U.S. or Canada. It does not, however, affect its operations in Brazil, where its ATM's are growing in popularity with the nation's largest bank.