Billionaire Kretinsky, OnePoint Make Bailout Offers for Atos

image is BloomburgMedia_SD1TARDWX2PS00_06-05-2024_08-18-59_638505504000000000.jpg

The Atos headquarters in Paris.

Embattled French tech company Atos SE has received offers to help bail out the company that will frame the discussions with its stakeholders around its restructuring. 

David Layani’s OnePoint, a group of Atos creditors, private equity firm Bain Capital and billionaire Daniel Kretinsky alongside credit fund Attestor Ltd. submitted offers last week, the company said in a statement on Monday. The company decided not to pursue discussions with Bain Capital because the private equity firm’s offer didn’t meet Atos’ objectives.

Atos intends to reach a restructuring deal with its creditors on May 31 and a final agreement by July 2024. Chief Executive Officer Paul Saleh is trying to salvage Atos, which was once one of the country’s premier tech companies before a series of setbacks left it on the verge on insolvency. The company has said it needs to raise €1.7 billion of new money to fund the business through 2025 and to cut debt by €3.2 billion.

Atos said that talks with the French state over the takeover of the strategic businesses were ongoing. The company reached a €100 million ($108 million) interim financing agreement with bondholders and discussions are progressing with its banks and the French State on the remaining €350 million, Atos said.

Details of the Kretinsky and Attestor combined offer were first reported by Bloomberg. Atos said Monday that details of the proposals will be published on its investor relations website.

The original date to file proposals was pushed back by a week and the injection and debt cutting needs were revised after Atos reported that its debt troubles had put off customers, causing them to hold off on agreeing to new contracts and hurting financial results in the first quarter. 

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier this week that the government made an offer to take over some parts of the business that it considers strategic. 

Still, previous plans to offload assets and raise funds have failed. Separate talks with Airbus SE and Kretinsky stumbled earlier this year, and the French government was forced to step in with interim financing. A court-appointed mediator is now handling its conciliation process with its creditors.

Atos provides information technology services, including for key government departments as well as the nuclear industry, and has an agreement to supply cybersecurity to the Paris Olympics this summer. The company grew rapidly in the previous decade through acquisitions, adding supercomputing and cybersecurity services to its IT products. But investors began to balk at the spending, and in 2021, auditors found accounting errors at two of the company’s US entities. 

Meanwhile, analysts argue that Atos missed the industrywide shift to cloud-based services, alienating some customers. The shares tanked — dropping about 97% since the start of 2021 — and efforts to restructure the business failed leading to a revolving door of CEOs. 

Saleh, Atos’ fifth chief executive in less than three years, has put a confident spin on the talks so far, and said in an interview last month that he believes the company can be saved, characterizing the dialog with creditors as “very, very positive.”

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©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

By Irene García Pérez , Benoit Berthelot


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