On January 3, 2024, Atos provided an update on the situation, confirming they had entered negotiations with Airbus about their BDS (big data and cybersecurity). In their press release, the French tech group explained the financial constraints weighing on the company, particularly the settlement and refinancing of its debt.
Atos decided to split into two entities: Tech Foundations, taking over the traditional IT facilities management business, which is in the red, and Eviden, incorporating the group’s growing advanced tech businesses. In the summer of 2023, the group announced the sale of Tech Foundations to EPEI, the holding company of Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský.
However, the operation is slow to come to fruition. Atos maintains it is pursuing exclusive negotiations with EPEI, but “with no certainty they will lead to an agreement.” As a result, the IT group is forced to sell off other assets “in order to meet financing deadlines.”
“The head office and board consider that between the various possible options, the sale of BDS would be a decisive component, allowing businesses remaining in the company to preserve strategic interests,” explains Atos.
According to the press release, two groups have shown interest in becoming stakeholders of BDS, which is currently part of Eviden. The first (unnamed) is considering a minority stake. The second is Airbus. In early 2023, the aircraft manufacturer had already initiated talks with Atos to acquire 29.9% of Eviden, before giving up in March 2023.
This time around, Airbus is focusing solely on the full acquisition of Eviden’s big data and cybersecurity branch. “The company will open a due diligence phase (to carry out a detailed study of their accounts, editor’s note) with Airbus, whose offer based on a 1.5 to 1.8 billion euro estimate of the company, will encompass all of BDS,” thus explains Atos.