Weakened by poor financial results, Atos whets appetites. According to Reuters, Thales is considering a plan to buy the IT services company’s cybersecurity business. The Defense player and its advisor CenterView Partners have approached several investment funds, including Bain Capital (which has just acquired Inetum), CVC Capital Partners and PAI Partners, in order to study a joint offer for Atos, which would be then split. The operation is estimated at nearly 2.7 billion euros.

Thales could thus seize the BDS activity (Big data and cybersecurity). The latter is a legacy of the acquisition of Bull. According to a 2019 report, this subsidiary managed until recently by Pierre Barnabé, had 6 R&D centers, with more than 5,200 employees and a turnover in 2018 of 1 billion euros. Its activities are multiple, ranging from the implementation of cybersecurity solutions, but also working on critical projects, particularly in the field of Defense and Big Data with orientations towards quantum and HPC. Atos is due to present the latest generation of its Bull Sequana system next week. Note that Thales and Atos are partners in Athea, the French initiative to challenge Palantir.

An end of inadmissibility of the State?

Asked for more details, Thales declined to comment and Atos has not responded as of this writing. One thing is certain, the action of Atos resumed colors after this announcement, appreciating by more than 10% at 5 p.m. For its part, Thales shares lost around 3% at the same time.

This operation could however not be done, because the government would take a dim view of the sale of a “French champion” to foreign investors. A sensitive issue even more delicate a few months before the presidential election. According to sources quoted by Reuters, “the French government will strongly oppose any dismantling of Atos from now on”.