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Monday, April 8, 2024

Butler Investments joins Atos rescue party

Shares in crisis-ridden French IT integrator Atos bounced by over 25 percent this morning as top shareholder Onepoint said it has a rescue plan involving investment firm Butler Industries.

Onepoint said it would cook up a turnaround plan for Atos by the end of this month, with the help of Butler Industries, which now joins its rescue consortium. In a Sunday statement, Onepoint said its hopes were to make Atos a European platform for digital, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, as well as “Europe’s leading sovereign cloud operator.”

Among other things, the rescue plan will protect Atos’s assets, return it to a trajectory of growth, and restructure its debts, said the shareholder, which owns an 11.4 percent stake in the French IT stalwart. This follows a period of huge uncertainty for Atos where the once high-flying €9.84 billion ($10.67 billion) company has been pushed to the brink, with an estimated value today of €262.08 million ($283.7 million) – which is still much better than its €191.59 million ↗ ($207.85 million) market cap back in March.

Around $5 billion in debt, Atos is holding ↗ a call with creditors today as part of debt restructuring talks.

Earlier this month, Atos’s share price sank as much as 20 percent on confirmation ↗ that Airbus was no longer interested in buying the big data and security (BDS) parts of the troubled tech titan.

A year ago Airbus was rumored to be interested in investing in Atos ↗ but was warned off by activist investors ↗. One stockholder, TCI Fund Management, branded the transaction as a “bailout” of a “company that is burdened with unsustainable levels of debt and other liabilities.”

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said ↗ last week that Atos’s cybersecurity and HPC activities had to remain under French control, saying the government would assess how they could ensure this legally.

Atos provides critical tech for France including secure communications for the country’s military and secret service and is said to be looking after cybersecurity for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games. It also manufactures HPC hardware and software products behind troves of research data and the country’s homegrown artificial intelligence industry. It is also the supplier of the pre-exascale EuroHPC supercomputer in the Bologna Technopole, Italy, based on a BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer and hosted by Cineca. ®

Michael Maren
Michael Maren
Former marine biologist who likes to spend as much time in the tropics as possible, due to a horrible time I once had in Alaska. Brrrr.

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