Thales could be tempted by some Atos defence assets – iTnews

Thales has opened the door to buying a limited part of the strategic assets of troubled French IT group Atos after the French government floated a rescue package.
The government provisionally offered at the weekend to acquire various strategically important assets including Atos’ Advanced Computing, Mission-Critical Systems and Cyber Products, and said it would also seek industrial partners.
Thales, a defence group partially owned by the French state, has repeatedly said it is not interested in Atos’ computing assets known as Big Data & Security (BDS) because it does not fit its fast-expanding civil cyber security business.
But asked whether the situation had changed following the government’s intervention and search for potential partners, Chief Financial Officer Pascal Bouchiat said Thales could look at limited defence-related assets if they became available.
“We are not interested in BDS,” Bouchiat told reporters. “It’s true that inside BDS, which is essentially a cyber security services activity, there is another activity that is much more modest in size which is related to defence and security.”
Speaking at a quarterly sales media briefing, he added: “If at some point this particular defence and security business, which is a minority of BDS, were on sale, then we would not object to looking at it.”
He declined to comment on whether the French government had already approached Thales, in which it owns 26 percent of the shares and 35 percent of the voting rights.
Atos’ shares have lost around 90 percent of their value over the last two years after a string of profit warnings, a revolving door of CEOs and the collapse of potential asset sales.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he was working to convince unspecified industrial companies to invest in the strategic Atos businesses, which provide super-computing and cryptography to France’s military and secret services.
Media reports have also said that plane maker Dassault Aviation, the biggest industrial shareholder in Thales, is also seen as a potential candidate to take part in a rescue operation for Atos.
BFM Business also reported that businessman Daniel Kretinsky would make an offer for Atos.


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