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April 8, 2024

Atos rescue consortium formed with OnePoint and Butler Industries

The industrial investor has joined OnePoint in a new attempt to rescue Atos, amid new troubles for the beleaguered French IT giant. 

By Greg Noone

A consortium organised to rescue French IT giant Atos has added Butler Industries to its ranks. A global industrial investor based in Paris, the firm will join leading Atos shareholder OnePoint in attempting to prevent the technology firm from collapsing under the weight of the $5bn in debt it has accumulated in recent years. In a statement issued on Sunday, the former company added that the ultimate ambition of the “OneAtos” consortium was to restore the status of Atos as a leading supplier of cloud services in Europe. 

“[Our goal is] to make Atos the European platform for digital, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, and the leading European cloud operator,” said OnePoint, adding that its chief executive, David Layani, personally welcomed the support of Butler Industries’ founder, Walter Butler, for the consortium. “He’s strengthening our OneAtos project.”

The Atos logo.
A private consortium has been formed with the goal of rescuing French IT giant Atos from financial ruin. (Photo by Lukassek / Shutterstock)

Atos debt trap

The formation of the OneAtos consortium follows repeated assurances from the French state that the financial stability of the technology company is now one of its main priorities. According to a statement made by prime minister Gabriel Attal last week, the French government will also endeavour to protect national strategic assets managed by Atos, including its cybersecurity and supercomputing divisions. 

Atos’ share price briefly rose at the news of the formation of the “OneAtos” consortium, though the stock itself has been priced at historic lows in recent months as the business continues to fend off speculation about its long-term viability. Though it continues to be one of France’s largest IT firms, Atos has experienced severe financial setbacks as it attempts to pivot toward primarily offering cloud-based services. Having initially attempted to fund this effort by taking out large loans serviced by rising profits and selling off key assets, the firm has instead failed to achieve either objective, proving unable to sell its Tech Foundations division to EPEI in February or its BDS arm to Airbus in March

Corporate governance concerns

Analysts and investors in Atos also expressed concerns to Tech Monitor last month about deeper problems at the company that predate its attempted strategic pivot, including poor corporate governance, a willingness to acquire companies above their market value, and high levels of turnover at the senior leadership level. However, according to the co-president of UDAAC, a group of small Atos investors, the firm’s immediate problems are “financial,” not operational. 

If so, the stated attempt by “OneAtos” to recapitalise the business may prove positive news to the wider community of Atos shareholders. Further news on the financial health of the business will likely emerge later today after a scheduled call between the firm and its creditors. 

Read more: The fall of Atos: What went wrong? And what happens next? 

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