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Tech Giant Linked to France’s Cybersecurity Tumbles in Value

Tech Giant Linked to France’s Cybersecurity Tumbles in Value


The French authorities mentioned Tuesday that it was transferring to guard Atos, a too-big-to-fail French know-how big that manages information and cybersecurity for the nation’s nuclear weapons applications and navy in addition to for the upcoming Paris Olympics, as the corporate veered towards monetary uncertainty.

Shares of Atos tumbled greater than 20 % after Airbus, the European aerospace big, mentioned it had referred to as off talks to purchase Atos’s cybersecurity property for as much as 1.8 billion euros (about $2 billion) following a evaluation of the corporate’s funds. Later, Atos mentioned it will postpone its earnings launch, scheduled for Wednesday, “as a way to consider strategic choices.”

The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, mentioned the federal government had been carefully watching the scenario and was engaged on “a nationwide answer” to guard Atos. “All the pursuits of France shall be preserved,” Mr. Le Maire mentioned, including that he would use all means at his disposal “to ensure the safety of strategic actions.”

Atos isn’t a outstanding identify among the many world’s largest tech firms, however in France it performs a strategic position in nationwide safety and the administration of delicate information within the civil and navy sectors. It has grown right into a European information and supercomputing powerhouse during the last decade, working in 69 international locations and using 95,000, with annual income of €11 billion.

Much of that progress relied on a debt-financed spending spree of acquisitions, a lot of them when Atos was led by Thierry Breton, a former finance minister and the present European Union commissioner for inner markets. The firm now faces €3.65 billion in loans and bonds that have to be repaid or refinanced by the tip of 2025.

In 2021, Atos’s share worth was hit after experiences that it will purchase an American competitor, DXC Technology, for $10 billion. The deal was scrapped a month later amid investor considerations, and Atos was dealt an additional blow after auditors discovered accounting errors at two of its U.S. operations. Atos additionally did not sustain with the rise of cloud computing by rivals like Amazon and Microsoft, additional undermining investor confidence. The firm has gone by means of three chief executives in as a few years.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Atos mentioned it was “actively evaluating strategic options that can think about the sovereign imperatives of the French state.” Its shares, which topped €75 three years in the past, traded Tuesday at simply €1.74.

Its most prized property turned the goal of a takeover bid final yr by Daniel Kretinsky, a Czech telecommunications billionaire whose efforts had been fiercely opposed by French politicians — a few of whom have referred to as for nationalizing Atos to maintain it in French palms.

Mr. Le Maire stopped wanting calling for nationalization. But he mentioned the federal government’s precedence was to “determine options to stabilize its monetary scenario and provides all the required visibility to stakeholders, particularly the corporate’s workers.”

Among different issues, Atos owns the supercomputer that permits the French navy to simulate nuclear bomb exams, after the federal government outlawed bodily testing in 1996. Électricité de France just lately chosen an Atos entity, Eviden, to offer management methods for six nuclear energy reactors that the French authorities plans to construct within the coming decade.

Atos software program is used for French Rafale fighter jets and even the safe phone strains of the French armed forces. Airbus, which builds fight plane and navy helicopters, had expressed curiosity in Atos’s large information and cybersecurity property because it expands its program amid an increase in European protection budgets.

In a terse assertion on Tuesday, Airbus mentioned it was ending its discussions with Atos, however didn’t give a motive.

Atos’s software program and computing energy are additionally used for France’s nationwide tax and well being companies. The firm just lately gained the contract to host private information and supply cybersecurity for the Paris Olympics this summer time.

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