France moves to rescue Atos as former IT crown jewel struggles to stay afloat

In Europe

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This photograph taken on April 26, 2024 shows the headquarters of the French multinational information technology company ATOS in Bezons, near Paris. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Ludovic Marin | Afp | Getty Images

Struggling IT firm Atos on Monday said that it had received an offer from the French government to potentially take over some of its business.

As part of the deal, the French government would acquire Atos’ advanced computing, mission-critical systems and cybersecurity product divisions, according to the letter of intent sent by the French state over the weekend. The offer was based on an indicative enterprise valuation between 700 million euros ($750 million) and 1 billion euros as part of the offer, the firm said.

Due diligence is set to begin shortly with a view that a non-binding offer could be made in early June, according to the IT firm.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire had announced the plan in local media on Sunday.

“There are within Atos sovereign activities that must remain under the exclusive control of France,” he said, according to a CNBC translation.

Reuters reported that Le Maire said he was aiming for unspecified French companies to invest in Atos. Several discussions about deals to sell off parts of the business, including with Airbus and Czech billionaire businessman Daniel Kretinsky, have collapsed.

Among other sensitive contracts with the French authorities as well as its military, Atos is currently managing data and cybersecurity for the Paris 2024 Olympic games.

The firm is facing mounting financial troubles, including soaring debt, and is currently in talks for financial restructuring. Atos’ net debt stood at 3.9 billion euros at the end of the first quarter, the company said earlier this month.

Atos on Monday said that it now needed 1.1 billion euros of cash to finance its business throughout 2024 and 2025, substantially more than the 600 million figure it had previously provided. Atos said that investors had until early May to make proposals, adding that the company aims to strike a restructuring deal in July.

Shares in Atos jumped as much as 19% on the news of the French government’s offer early on Monday, and were last up by 22.01% at 11:57 a.m. London time.



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