France-The State wants to buy the strategic activities of Atos, says Le Maire – 04/28/2024 at 8:01 p.m.

(Updated with context)

The French state has sent a letter of intent to the Atos ATOS.PA group to acquire activities it considers strategic, Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday.

“I submitted a letter of intent this weekend with a view to acquiring all the sovereign activities of Atos,” he said on the LCI channel, specifying that it is the agency of the participations of the State which will carry out this operation.

The French Minister of Economy and Finance added that the State wanted other industrial groups to join its offer.

“We will see which other shareholders could participate. I mean only French shareholders who work in strategic areas, defense for example or aeronautics,” he noted.

“There are other models like that of Naval Group, of TechicAtome where there is the State plus a round table with other French sovereign actors”, he continued, emphasizing that “the objective This means that Atos’ strategic activities remain under the exclusive control of France.

Rumors have circulated in the French press that defense groups like Thales TCFP.PA and Dassault Aviation AM.PA could participate in a plan to safeguard Atos’ assets, which include supercomputers and some of its most important cybersecurity activities. more sensitive.

“It is the role of the State to defend the strategic interests of Atos and to prevent technologies which are sensitive, decisive in terms of supercomputers or in matters of defense from being able at any time to depend on interests foreigners”, insisted Bruno Le Maire.


Atos is an IT consulting group that secures communications for the French army and secret services. It also manufactures servers for supercomputers capable of processing large quantities of data for research or to develop the emerging artificial intelligence (AI) industry.

In major financial and stock market difficulties (the share has lost around 70% of its value since the start of the year), Atos warned on Thursday that it needed additional liquidity, which would lead it to revise its refinancing plan presented there only two weeks old.

At the beginning of April, the group presented a long-awaited refinancing plan which was then based on the search for 1.2 billion euros in new money and the conversion of half of the debt into shares.

But the deterioration in activity in the first quarter forced the group to review its business plan for 2024-2027.

Atos, which holds assets considered strategic by the French government, hoped to begin a recovery with the sale of its BDS (Big Data & Security) activity to Airbus and that of its Tech Foundations branch, which brings together its IT consulting activities, to Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky. Both operations, however, failed.

The group has extended to May 3 the deadline for refinancing proposals, one of which should come from the company Onepoint, the largest shareholder of Atos with 11.4% of the capital.

Atos is also discussing with its banks to restructure its debt and still wants to reach an agreement with financial creditors by July.

At the end of March, Atos’ debt reached 3.9 billion euros compared to 2.3 billion at the end of December while cash flow fell by 1.4 billion euros in three months.

(Written by Mathieu Rosemain and Claude Chendjou)

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