Onepoint wants to be the solution to chaos at Atos

2024 is not starting off under the best auspices for the former French digital flagship, Atos. Discussions with billionaire Daniel Kretinsky about buying Tech Foundations have ended. Airbus has withdrawn its application to take over the Big Data and Security branch.

In January, only a few months after his arrival, Yves Bernaert resigned. Business is at half mast and Atos is heavily in debt. By the end of 2025, the company must find a solution to repay 3.65 billion euros in loans and bonds.

No future possible by selling the family jewels

Is a future still possible for Atos? The Ministry of the Economy hopes so, which is participating in the discussions with the aim of “stabilizing its financial situation and giving all the necessary visibility to stakeholders”.

After the withdrawal of Airbus, the government announced that it was working on building a national solution to protect strategic activities. “All of France’s interests will be preserved,” promises Bruno Le Maire.

The message has been received, responds David Layani, president of Onepoint. The services company is a shareholder of Atos with 11% of its capital. In 2023, it made an offer to buy Atos’ cybersecurity activities, which was rejected.

But the manager has not given up and is defending another strategy for the company, which he details in an interview with Le Figaro. For David Layani, who has been on the board of directors since February, it is urgent to put an end to the sale of Atos’ “family jewels”.

The sovereignty desired by Bercy, without the cut

“We must immediately put an end to any sale project while preserving the integrity of the assets to build a New One Atos that gets off to a good start,” he insists. Because according to the boss of Onepoint, a relaunch is unimaginable without the conservation of gems like BDS.

However, a division of Atos’ activities has not been ruled out by Bercy as part of the implementation of a “national solution”. But for David Layani, such a policy would be doomed to failure because sovereignty “cannot be divided”.

The CEO hopes to rally the State to his cause and thus affirms that his project for Atos constitutes “the best response to the legitimate concern of Bruno Le Maire.” Onepoint will, however, have to find allies. The actor realizes 500 million euros of turnover, twenty times less than Atos.

“The creditors will make an effort and the shareholders will have to put in money,” says David Layani in response. Why would they agree to such an effort, or even such a risk? Because Atos has the capacity to become “the Airbus of cyber and digital”.

Atos the Airbus of cyber and digital

Achieving “within two or three years, 6% to 8% growth and margins comparable to those of its competitors” remains possible for Atos. A recapitalization is necessary for this. And Onepoint of course plans to participate.

In a press release published this morning, March 25, Atos stated that it had taken note of the comments made by David Layani. She adds that no Onepoint plan has yet been presented to the board of directors.

The company is therefore waiting to decide. Another major deadline looms for Atos. Tuesday 26, it will publish its 2023 results. This financial meeting had been postponed, the company only communicating at the end of February the turnover, the operating margin and the free cash flow. The week promises to be intense for the leaders of Atos and for the future of the group.

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