Big Data Security Analytics , Governance & Risk Management , Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

Airbus Renews Bid to Buy French Atos' Cybersecurity Unit

Aerospace Firm's Proposed Acquisition Valued at Up to 1.8 Billion Euros
Airbus Renews Bid to Buy French Atos' Cybersecurity Unit
An Atos corporate office in Dusseldorf, Germany (Image: Shutterstock)

In an update Wednesday, the French IT consultancy firm Atos said it is in early-stage talks with Airbus to sell its cybersecurity unit for an estimated 1.8 billion euros, or 1.79 billion. An Atos spokesperson said the talks are not exclusive and that Atos would "open a due diligence phase with Airbus" soon.

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Airbus made an initial offer of between 1.5 billion euros to 1.8 billion euros, or $1.63 billion to 1.79 billion, for the Atos' Big Data and Security business unit, Atos said.

The Airbus spokesperson told Information Security Media Group that the aviation giant has submitted a nonbinding proposal to acquire Atos' BDS business line. The unit is part of Evidian, an Atos entity that develops access management, digital identity and data protection solutions.

"The acquisition of BDS could significantly accelerate the digital transformation of Airbus; enhance the company's defense and security portfolio with strong capabilities in cyber, advanced computing and artificial intelligence; and support Airbus' decarbonization road map," the spokesperson said.

Airbus said the acquisition will support its growth as a European aerospace, defense and cybersecurity leader, but it cautioned that the discussions are at an early stage and subject to due diligence.

Airbus tried to buy a 29.9% stake in Atos' Evidian business in March, but it withdrew the offer when the two companies failed to reach a deal. In January 2023, Evidian was valued at $5.76 billion (see: Airbus, Atos Ax Deal for Minority Stake in Evidian Cyber Arm).

Atos said it is open to selling additional assets to raise more funds, particularly if negotiations with EPEI to sell its Tech Foundations unit stall.

CapitalWatch reported in October that French defense electronics company Thales had expressed interest in acquiring Atos' data and cybersecurity business, but a formal bid never materialized. But instead, Thales acquired API security leader Imperva for $3.6 billion in July last year, expanding its footprint in the data security market (see: Thales to Buy Imperva From PE Firm Thoma Bravo for $3.6B).

Paris-based Atos has been touted as the world's largest managed security services vendor, serving a wide range of public and private-sector clients. But the company continues to struggle to pay down over 2 billion euros in debt, driven by customers moving from on-premises IT services to cloud-based services.

About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.

Jayant Chakravarti

Jayant Chakravarti

Senior Editor, APAC

Chakravarti covers cybersecurity developments in the Asia-Pacific region. He has been writing about technology since 2014, including for Ziff Davis.

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