French government steps in to rescue Atos, once renowned as the nation’s top tech firm


France’s government has sent an offer letter to Atos SE proposing to take over parts of the company that the state considers to be strategic, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday.

Le Maire didn’t provide an offer price for the proposed deal, which includes the company’s supercomputer, quantum computing and cyber products operations. The annual sales of those businesses are around €900 million ($962 million), according to his office.

France’s government intends to bring private companies into a consortium should the offer proceed, Le Maire said. He didn’t specify which companies but said they would all be French. 

“The goal is that the strategic activities of Atos stay under exclusive French control,” Le Maire said on LCI television.

Last week, Atos said it was seeking more cash and might need to further reduce its debt. The company had previously said it needed to raise about €1.2 billion of new money to fund the business through 2025 and cut debt by roughly half to €2.4 billion. 

Atos was one of France’s premier tech companies before a series of setbacks — including accounting errors and profit warnings — left it on the verge of insolvency. 

When plans to offload assets to Airbus SE and Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky stumbled earlier this year, the French government was forced to step in with interim financing. A court-appointed mediator is now handling its conciliation process with creditors and banks.

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