French group Astek says it is interested in buying Evidia, an entity of Atos

The soap opera will continue until the summer and probably beyond. Several main characters have already entered the scene. Some have gained a fleeting appearance, others are waiting behind the scenes. somewhere in between Office of Legends and Thunder in the tropics, the sale of part of the Atos group excites industry, the technology sector, national defense and the political class alike. Edouard Philippe joined the group led by Thierry Breton for ten years in autumn 2020. His voice will be taken into account and his responsibility will be to deal with this complex sale under close supervision. The sale of Evidia, the name given to the divested entity, relates specifically to strategic activities in cyber security and nuclear deterrence. This should allow Atos, which last year had a turnover of 10 billion euros and 110,000 employees, to work again.

This weekend, a new candidate begins the battle for his turn. French Astek informed the Atos board of its interest in Evidiana. Over the course of several weeks, a small group ofpatriots“, as they introduced themselves, all polytechnics, pilots Aztec candidate. With 7,000 employees, €500m turnover, 40% growth last year, the digital transformation specialist feels beyond adventurous. “The idea is to learn about Atos’ business, look at the box to make a consistent offer“, Astek president Julien Gavaldon explains.

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A cut that raises questions

It is not easy to get a clear picture of the situation of Atos. In June, the introduction of a new strategy based on a split plan led to the departure of managing director Rodolphe Belmer, now TF1’s boss. This change of course and the collapse of the movement also awakened the activist foundation Sycomore. The minority shareholder is demanding the resignation of the group’s president, Bertrand Meunier, and the replacement of the most senior members of the board with experts in the sector.

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The division envisioned by the council raises questions. The valuation of the new group at around 7 billion euros raises doubts. This is in line with Atos’ estimate for restructuring and debt reduction. “This is what happens when a technology leader lets people who can’t even change batteries in a remote control“, taunts someone close to the file.

Also Read – The EuraTechnologies incubator wants to make Lille a reference in cyber security with its new campus.

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In September, Onepoint was the first company to introduce itself as a buyer. The technology consulting group said it is ready to put 4.2 billion euros on the table. Bertrand Meunier does not consider the proposal relevant. Onepoint boss David Layani has to go his own way, but offered himself “It’s a big publicity stunt“, will judge some. Last week, Airbus in turn confirmed that it had opened discussions with Atos. Several of the businesses for sale are of interest to the aircraft manufacturer, particularly in the area of ​​secure communications, due to the defense sector. Finally, another major French industrial player is more uncertain plays the game: Thales. Officially, Patrice Caine’s group does not want the transaction, and especially the price put forward by the seller today. But still, it is hard to believe that Evidian’s portfolio does not offer him something interesting.

Big data, cyber security, encrypted communication systems, supercomputers, etc. : you can find a little bit of everything there. Founded in 1997, the Atos group was formed through acquisitions of Bull, the IT operation of Siemens, an American company with offshore centers in India. At that time, Thierry Breton set himself the goal of creating the European Airbus of IT services. Atos crowns its trajectory by joining the CAC 40 if it fails in its bid for Gemalto. A profit warning in 2021 and the refusal of auditors to certify the accounts throw the French into chaos.

Julien Gavaldon does not intend to take over all of Evidia. He has gathered several specialists around him, for example, the state group ChapsVision, and is negotiating with large industrialists. Everyone wants to see what Atos is throwing in the bin and avoid paying the high price. Financial partners such as Eurazeo, Tikehau and Ardian were also approached. The only selection criteria: they must be French. Aztec claims it was a patriotic operation.

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