- Airbus SE is reportedly discussing purchasing a minority stake in Atos SE’s new cybersecurity branch, which caused shares of the French information technology major Atos SE to rise.
- Atos indicated it would split into two. Evidian will include its cybersecurity, big data, and supercomputing services, while the second spinoff will consist of its declining IT infrastructure management firm.
Airbus SE is reportedly discussing purchasing a minority stake in Atos SE’s new cybersecurity branch, which caused shares of the French information technology firm Atos SE to rise.
The report originated from Les Echos through Reuters and was based on unnamed sources with knowledge of the conversations. Airbus declined to comment on the claim but told Reuters that it often engages in private discussions with its business partners, clients, and suppliers.
Atos, for its part, declined to comment but disclosed in December that it had already begun “exploratory discussions with potential future minority shareholders in the scope of Evidian-related activities.”
Atos referred to its proposed spinoff firm, which is anticipated to include its cybersecurity division and other business segments. The spinoff was announced in June 2022 after an internal assessment of Atos was conducted in response to the company’s share price falling by more than 50%. That month, Atos informed investors that it deals with a fragmented portfolio, many “red contracts,” high reliance on subcontractors, low productivity, and an insufficient skill set for commercial personnel.
In response to these issues, Atos said the company would split into two smaller parts. Evidian will be comprised of its cybersecurity division, big data services, and supercomputing services, while the second spinoff will be formed of its waning IT infrastructure management business.
According to Les Echos, a minority share in Evidian would be strategically important to Airbus, a major defense contractor. Airbus would ensure access to the encrypted communications systems it puts in the military vehicles it manufactures by acquiring a share in Evidian. Airbus has a well-established position in the cybersecurity market, and in 2022 it integrated its cyber activities under the name Airbus Protect.
They are still being determined how far the negotiations have advanced, but the recent improvement in Atos’s finances may push it to play hardball. In October, the company’s third-quarter financial figures showed a return to sales growth. In addition, it has entered into an eight-year agreement with the Union of European Football Associations and has just formed a strategic alliance with Amazon Web Services Inc.
Atos recruited a new chief executive officer in June. Nourdine Bihmane is the fourth CEO of Atos since 2019 and the third in the past year.