Shares of French IT company Atos experienced a significant decline in Wednesday morning trading after announcing discussions regarding the sale of its Tech Foundations business. The potential buyer is an investment company led by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, with the transaction valued at a staggering 2 billion euros ($2.20 billion).

At 0900 GMT, Atos shares were seen trading 18% lower at EUR7.48, a sharp contrast to the increase of over 10% witnessed on Tuesday morning.

Atos has positioned the sale of its Tech Foundations business as a crucial step in its strategic plan to divide into two distinct entities and regain the confidence of its investors. This move comes after facing setbacks such as failed takeover attempts and multiple profit warnings, resulting in the departure of its chief executives in 2021 and 2022.

The Tech Foundations business, comprised of over 52,000 employees, serves as a cornerstone for Atos' legacy IT infrastructure management operations. By handing over this unit to EP Equity Investment, with Kretinsky as the majority shareholder, Atos aims to redirect its focus towards areas with strong growth potential, namely the cybersecurity and advanced computing markets. Additionally, Atos intends to rebrand the remaining group as Eviden.

The completion of the sale is targeted for the first quarter of 2024, at the latest.

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