The French authorities mentioned Tuesday that it was shifting to guard Atos, a too-big-to-fail French expertise big that manages information and cybersecurity for the nation’s nuclear weapons packages and navy in addition to for the upcoming Paris Olympics, as the corporate veered towards monetary uncertainty.

Shares of Atos tumbled greater than 20 p.c after Airbus, the European aerospace big, mentioned it had known as off talks to purchase Atos’s cybersecurity belongings for as much as 1.8 billion euros (about $2 billion) following a evaluation of the corporate’s funds. Later, Atos mentioned it might postpone its earnings launch, scheduled for Wednesday, “in an effort to consider strategic choices.”

The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, mentioned the federal government had been carefully watching the scenario and was engaged on “a nationwide resolution” to guard Atos. “All of the pursuits of France will likely be preserved,” Mr. Le Maire mentioned, including that he would use all means at his disposal “to ensure the safety of strategic actions.”

Atos isn’t a distinguished identify among the many world’s greatest tech firms, however in France it performs a strategic position in nationwide safety and the administration of delicate information within the civil and navy sectors. It has grown right into a European information and supercomputing powerhouse during the last decade, working in 69 nations and using 95,000, with annual income of €11 billion.

A lot of that development relied on a debt-financed spending spree of acquisitions, lots of them when Atos was led by Thierry Breton, a former finance minister and the present European Union commissioner for inside markets. The corporate now faces €3.65 billion in loans and bonds that should be repaid or refinanced by the tip of 2025.

In 2021, Atos’s share value was hit after studies that it might purchase an American competitor, DXC Know-how, for $10 billion. The deal was scrapped a month later amid investor considerations, and Atos was dealt an additional blow after auditors discovered accounting errors at two of its U.S. operations. Atos additionally didn’t sustain with the rise of cloud computing by rivals like Amazon and Microsoft, additional undermining investor confidence. The corporate has gone by three chief executives in as a few years.

In a statement on Tuesday, Atos mentioned it was “actively evaluating strategic options that can consider the sovereign imperatives of the French state.” Its shares, which topped €75 three years in the past, traded Tuesday at simply €1.74.

Its most prized belongings turned the goal of a takeover bid final 12 months by Daniel Kretinsky, a Czech telecommunications billionaire whose efforts had been fiercely opposed by French politicians — a few of whom have known as for nationalizing Atos to maintain it in French palms.

Mr. Le Maire stopped in need of calling for nationalization. However he mentioned the federal government’s precedence was to “determine options to stabilize its monetary scenario and provides all the required visibility to stakeholders, particularly the corporate’s staff.”

Amongst different issues, Atos owns the supercomputer that permits the French navy to simulate nuclear bomb checks, after the federal government outlawed bodily testing in 1996. Électricité de France lately chosen an Atos entity, Eviden, to offer management techniques for six nuclear energy reactors that the French authorities plans to construct within the coming decade.

Atos software program is used for French Rafale fighter jets and even the safe phone strains of the French armed forces. Airbus, which builds fight plane and navy helicopters, had expressed curiosity in Atos’s large information and cybersecurity belongings because it expands its program amid an increase in European protection budgets.

In a terse assertion on Tuesday, Airbus mentioned it was ending its discussions with Atos, however didn’t give a purpose.

Atos’s software program and computing energy are additionally used for France’s nationwide tax and well being companies. The corporate lately gained the contract to host private information and supply cybersecurity for the Paris Olympics this summer season.



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