Atos rejects an offer from the Onepoint group on its Evidian branch

Coveted since the beginning of the year, the fast-growing activities of Atos are still not for sale. In a press release published Thursday, September 29, the French digital giant indicated that it had received “ an unsolicited letter of intent from Onepoint, associated with the Anglo-Saxon investment fund ICG, relating to a potential acquisition of the Evidian scope, for an enterprise value of 4.2 billion euros “. After examination, the group’s board of directors considers ” unanimously ” what ” it is not in the interest of the company and its stakeholderss ».

A group undergoing restructuring

During a conference call with the press, the founder and president of the tricolor company Onepoint, David Layani, invited Atos to reconsider its position and added that it was ready to work hand in hand with its leaders to achieve a OK. He specifies that Atos could hold up to 30% of the new entity and that this takeover would, according to him, create 20,000 new jobs in Europe, including 10,000 in France. Specialized in digital services, the French company Onepoint was created in 2002, today claims 400 million euros in turnover and employs 3,000 people in 14 countries.

Very late in the cloud compared to its competitors, Atos has been mired in a financial slump since the departure in 2019 of its emblematic CEO, Thierry Breton. In 2021, the group thus recorded a net loss of nearly 3 billion euros for a turnover of 10.8 billion euros, down 4.3% at constant scope. Poor performance that was harshly penalized on the stock market: between the start of 2021 and the end of September 2022, the share price lost nearly 90%.

Several buyout offers

In an attempt to raise the bar, CEO Rodolphe Belmer unveiled a transformation plan in mid-June which plans to split the group into two separate entities. Baptized Evidian, the first brings together the current divisions of buoyant activities (big data, high performance servers, supercomputers and cybersecurity), while the second focuses on historical outsourcing activities (management of IT assets on behalf of third parties).

At the same time, Atos faces significant governance issues. The leader Rodolphe Belmer having submitted his resignation during the presentation of the split plan, it is currently managed by the chairman of the board of directors, Bertrand Meunier. The latter is however targeted by a sling of small shareholders who demand his departure, judging that he is not up to carrying out this major restructuring. These dissentions and the group’s financial fragility are fueling envy: Airbus and Thales have already expressed interest in the group’s cybersecurity branch in recent months, to no avail.

Valentin Hamon–Beugin with Reuters (Sudip Kar-Gupta and Matthieu Protard, edited by Marc Angrand and Jean-Stéphane Brosse)

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