Predators roam Atos

Smaller than his potential rivals on this issue, David Layani knew he had to shoot first to gain an advantage. The founder of the technology consulting firm Onepoint revealed on Tuesday, September 27, his intention to buy its cybersecurity division, called “Evidian”, from Atos, which is being separated from the rest of the group.

The proposal, valued at 4.2 billion euros, was quickly scrapped. “Not in the interest of society”, judged the board of directors, surprised by the impudence of this 43-year-old suitor. Starting from scratch twenty years ago, David Layani has multiplied acquisitions to make his group a French reference in technology consulting. “But, by targeting Evidian, it is the frog that wants to get bigger than[du 27 septembre] the ox”, criticizes a close friend of Atos. Onepoint reaches 400 million euros in annual turnover, twelve times less than Evidian. The financing of the operation, drawn up by Grégoire Heuzé, a former Lazard banker, and Crédit Agricole, with the support of the British investment fund ICG, is not convincing.

Orange and Thales are closely following Atos, under the benevolent gaze of the State, shareholder of the two groups, concerned that their cyber activities remain under the French flag.

The accusation of David Layani for “complicity in the manipulation of witnesses” in one of the aspects of the file on suspicions of Libyan financing of the presidential campaign of Nicolás Sarkozy, in 2007, also weighed in Atos’ decision. David Layani, who did not comment on World, has always denied any embezzlement in this case. And he’s determined that it doesn’t block his Evidian ambitions. “The Proposition [du 27 septembre] it was just the first shot. There will be more”promises a close friend of the leader.

new vocations

But Onepoint probably won’t be alone anymore. His irruption aroused other interests. For months, Orange and Thales have been closely watching Atos, under the benevolent gaze of the State, shareholder of the two groups, anxious that their cyber activities remain under the French flag. Evidian is, for example, one of the world’s few supercomputer manufacturers, an activity carried over from Atos’ acquisition of Bull in 2014. Neither Orange nor Thales want to comment officially on their appetite for Evidian.

On September 27, Aliette Mousnier-Lompré, director of Orange Business Services, limited herself to admitting, during a conference, that the operator “look at all the opportunities” with “intent to be active” consolidate itself as the European leader in this business. At Thales, the CEO Patrice Caine, advised by the banker Matthieu Pigasse (indirect shareholder of the World), she bites her nails. Thales will only launch if Evidian is officially for sale. This file will not be able to stay as it is for long.explains a close friend of the advocacy group.

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