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Le nouvel investisseur d’Atos demande une révision de prix de vente des actifs cédés à Daniel Kretinsky. Onepoint, qui vient de prendre une participation de 10% dans Atos déclare que le prix conclus avec le milliardaire tchèque est trop bas.
Pour ceux que seraient découragés par le fait que l’article soit en anglais, je voulais vous rappeler qu’Adrienne et Sarah sont les meilleures journalistes économiques d’Europe, donc au pire, ça vaut le coup que vous copiez-collez dans Google translate.
New Atos investor calls for review of asset sale to Daniel Křetínský Onepoint, which has built a 10% stake in the French IT group, says price agreed with Czech billionaire is too low
Onepoint, which has built a 10% stake in the French IT group, says price agreed with Czech billionaire is too low
The largest shareholder of French IT services company Atos has called for a renegotiation of the terms of a planned deal to sell some of its struggling assets to Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský.
Shares in Atos climbed 14 per cent on Thursday before falling back after digital consultancy Onepoint announced it had built a 10 per cent stake in the group, making it the biggest investor.
Paris-based Onepoint had previously tried to buy Atos’s big data and security services businesses in 2022, with backing from UK private equity group ICG.
The investment comes after former UniCredit chief executive Jean Pierre Mustier was appointed as Atos chair to shore up the company’s balance sheet after a series of crises. He is trying to salvage a plan piloted by his predecessor, Bertrand Meunier, to sell its lossmaking legacy IT business to Křetínský.
Onepoint said it supported the break-up plan. However its founder and chief executive David Layani said Atos should extract a higher price from Křetínský for the Tech Foundations unit.
“We have asked for more clarity on the deal with Křetínský . . . so that we can calmly review the conditions of the sale of Tech Foundations including the price,” Layani told the Financial Times.
Under the terms of the August agreement with Křetínský, Eviden — the rebranded Atos once Tech Foundations is sold — would get €100mn in net cash. Tech Foundations would be recapitalised by the Czech businessman to the tune of €800mn. It would also get €800mn in working capital from its former parent.
A second leg of the deal involves Křetínský contributing to a €900mn capital raise in Eviden — which would then encompass the cyber security and supercomputing businesses — against a 7.5 per cent stake.
Meunier had sought that financing to help meet Eviden’s €2.25bn debt payments in 2025. However Křetínský buying a stake in the rebranded company has drawn fire from investors, defence officials and politicians, partly because of national security reasons: Eviden’s supercomputers run models for the French nuclear arsenal. Křetínský had agreed to invest based on a valuation for Eviden shares at €20 per share, way above the €6.50 of Atos shares now.
Layani said Eviden should do without Křetínský’s investment and recover the cash in other ways, for instance by selling Tech Foundations at a higher price.
“It is through an increase in the price of the sale that we will be able to find that capital, with less dilution for shareholders and more value for the company,” Layani said.
He added that “nothing was excluded” regarding the role his company could play in Atos. He did not rule out making another bid for assets but said for now the group needed an anchor investor to stabilise its situation.
“We consider Atos a jewel of the French technology sector . . .[but] it needed a strong actor to support the creation of the new structure,” he said. Onepoint chief executive David Layani: ‘We have asked for more clarity on the deal . . . so that we can calmly review the conditions of the sale’
© Marechal Aurore/ABACA/Shutterstock
People close to Křetínský said he would happily do without taking a stake in Eviden. “This is a discussion we can certainly have,” said a person close to the businessman.
Onepoint’s move is the latest twist in a saga that has transfixed French business circles as Atos — which was once run by EU commissioner Thierry Breton — has struggled to come up with a plan to reverse the impact of a series of setbacks over the past two years.
Atos’s share price has declined by 88 per cent in the past three years from over €60 per share to below €7 on Thursday for a market value of €700.95mn, while there have been three chief executives.
Onepoint’s stakebuilding “takes place as part of the company’s ongoing reorganisation project and its new governance, and reinforces the strategic dimension of Atos’s activities,” Onepoint said on Thursday.
Atos said it “welcomed the arrival of Onepoint and envisioned entering into a constructive dialogue”.
A person close to Atos said Onepoint had acted on its own initiative but that its arrival was viewed as friendly by the company. “It’s not bad news to have a new investor in the stock,” the person said.
Previous lenders to Onepoint include Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and London-based firm Metric Capital.
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