La direction d’Atos reste droite sans ses bottes et poursuit la scission du groupe

Bertrand Meunier descend du train Atos, mais la scission du groupe se poursuit sans le président du conseil d’administration, remplacé par Jean-Pierre Mustier, administrateur indépendant du conseil d’administration depuis mai 2023. Le communiqué du groupe de services numériques est clair, très clair :

« Taking into account the differences in business dynamics, growth and cash generation profiles, and equity needs of the Tech Foundations and Eviden areas, as well as potential dis-synergies, mitigation measures, and estimated separation costs, the Board of Directors has decided that separation is the best solution for the benefit of all stakeholders of Atos. This will unlock the intrinsic value of Eviden, which operates in market segments with higher valuation multiples compared to the Tech Foundations business. »

ouveaux projets de l’entreprise sont basés sur des idées et des technologies déjà existantes.« I cannot reword »lThe ongoing activities of EP Equity Investment (EPEI), a company owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, continue with the sale of their historical IT outsourcing business, which is dedicated to maintaining computer systems. However, this transaction has intensified strong opposition. In this regard, two minority shareholders, Alix AM and CIAM funds, have even filed a complaint with the national financial prosecutor’s office (PNF), the first for active and passive corruption and the second for « false or misleading information ».

« Atos has confirmed that the preparatory steps of the project are currently underway, following the announcement on August 1, 2023, regarding the exclusive negotiations for the potential sale of Tech Foundations to the EPEI group, » explained Atos in its statement.

Plan B

The management of Atos assures that shareholders will receive « all necessary information » regarding the final operation, the remaining scope (Eviden), and the financing, for approval at the general assembly. This includes the definitive terms of the operation and the capital increases aimed at strengthening Eviden’s capital structure, which are « inter-conditioned with the planned sale of Tech Foundations. »

In this context, EPEI has an investment agreement. This agreement reserves up to 7.5% of Eviden’s capital for EPEI in a transaction valued at 900 million euros, with 180 million reserved for Daniel Kretinsky. However, Atos warns that « these negotiations could lead to the modification of certain financial parameters of the planned transaction. » The project is progressing. The group has submitted « most of the pre-notifications or notifications for regulatory approvals to the relevant jurisdictions. »

« The conclusion of definitive and binding agreements is expected upon the completion of exclusive negotiations, and if successful, by the end of 2023 at the latest, subject to the completion of the consultation process with employee representative bodies and obtaining the required banking consents (waivers), » the group stated. Furthermore, « the overall operation is now anticipated to be completed in the beginning of the second quarter of 2024. »

Cela suffira-t-il à éteindre le feu ? Pas sûr. Tout dépendra également si les fonds Alix AM et CIAM ont un agenda stratégique ou seulement la volonté de jouer un rôle d’actionnaires actifs. Ainsi, The management of Atos is preparing for a backup plan in case the operation with EPEI fails. If that were to happen, the digital services group would consider accessing capital markets (debt and equity) and/or selling additional assets to ensure sufficient liquidity to meet the debt obligations in 2025. Atos needs to refinance a 1.5 billion euro term loan maturing in January des obligations de 750 millions d’euros arrivant à échéance en mai 2025. Au final, The management of Atos is determined to move forward with this separation plan. They are fully committed to it.

Michel Cabirol

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