Atos prepares its split and the rebirth of Evidian

Atos is considering splitting up. In a press release, the digital services company (ESN) thus indicates “studying a separation into two listed companies”. The first, SpinCo (Evidian) would bring together the digital transformation and Big Data and Security business lines of Atos – without forgetting HPC –, while the second would take over consulting and information systems outsourcing, the Tech Foundations (TFCo – Atos).

Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Atos Explain the approach: “this new path that Atos would potentially take would aim to optimize our performance in the two distinct markets in which the Group is positioned”. Because these are marked by “fundamentally different dynamics: on the one hand the market linked to infrastructures, requiring significant assets, on the other hand the market for digital applications and security”.

Above all, the activities on the second (SpinCo) are doing well: “a turnover of 4.9 billion euros, with organic growth of +5%, and an operating margin of 7.8%”, in 2021 On the second (TFCo), it is less brilliant: “a turnover of 5.4 billion euros (excluding Unified Communications & Collaboration activity, UCC), down organically by -12%, and a margin of -1.1%”, last year. It is then up to TFCo to “achieve a full turnaround and restore growth, profitability and cash generation by 2026”.

The birth of Atos’ Big Data and Cybersecurity activities actually dates back to 2014, with the acquisition of Bull (and its Evidian software division) under the leadership of Thierry Breton. Subsequently, Atos did not fail to invest to strengthen its presence in the field of IT security. With the management of digital identities for connected objects, with PKI, first of all, and the acquisition of IDnomic in 2019.

The following year, Atos offered the skills of the young shoot digital.security. Created in 2015 with the support of Econocom, it has provided Atos with expertise in IT, OT and IoT security. With a specificity for connected objects: the ability to process the entire end-to-end solution, taking into account hardware, network interfaces, or even protocols.

And in the meantime, Atos acquired Miner & Kasch to increase its consulting activities in Big Data and artificial intelligence. Enough to complete a previous operation: the acquisition, in 2017, of the firm specializing in data engineering, zData.

If the communication of Atos is conditional, the project does not appear less serious: “the Board of Directors of Atos has approved the launch of an in-depth study of the contemplated transaction”. The final decision “will be taken once the ongoing in-depth analysis is completed” and “remains subject to general market conditions”. Not to mention the “usual processes, in particular the approval of the governance bodies and shareholders as well as the consultation of the representative bodies of the staff concerned”.

Two deputy general managers were appointed, each to manage one of the future entities: Philippe Oliva for SpinCo (Evidian), and Nourdine Bihmane for TFCo (Atos). The first arrived in April. He is a former Eutelsat, like Rodolphe Belmer, appointed CEO of Atos last fall and having taken office on January 1.

Nourdine Bihmane is on the contrary a former Atos, according to his LinkedIn page which mentions 21 and a half years spent within the group. His profile is probably reassuring within TFCo, at least in the short term.

But this orientation does not appear to be unanimous, until the summit of Atos. Rodolphe Belmer thus intends to leave “at the latest on September 5”, relate our colleagues from BFM Stock Exchangewith AFP. According to them, heated debates animated the board of directors of the group. And its managing director was content to state soberly, in response to questions about these exchanges, that “strategy is a sovereign decision of the board of directors”. It is up to the general manager to apply it.

The markets don’t seem fully convinced either. At the time these lines are published, the Atos share price has still lost more than 25% since the opening.

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Atos prepares its split and the rebirth of Evidian


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