Diebold May Exit e-Voting Business

Faced with continuing criticism that is increasingly tarnishing the 150-year old company's reputation, Diebold may be preparing to offload its electronic voting unit, say analysts quoted by the Associated Press

What to critics may appear as the company's main business, in reality is a unit that only marginally adds to Diebold's bottom line. For much of the company's history, Diebold's focus has been on providing safes and automated teller machine services.

However, high-profile issues with the company's e-voting systems has put this small portion of its business at the forefront. Now, it appears that executives believe that the risk it took building voting systems is no longer worth the reward.

An answer on whether Diebold's elections unit will stay is expected sometime early this year. Executives are keeping mum on the issue, with company CEO Tom Swidarski declining media requests for interviews on the subject. However, some analysts believe the division's days are numbered.

"I imagine at this point it's a question of whether have they found a private equity buyer yet or are they about to announce they are going to look for one," Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Gil Luria told the AP.

Luria's speculation could be fueled by comments in the company's annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Diebold expressed concern with the continuing problems, and said changing laws could hurt the company's business.

A company spokesperson would only say that Diebold continuously evaluates its positions, but would not comment any further on speculation over the election unit's future.

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