Airbus stops deal talks with Atos for Big Data & Security division

19 March 2024 2 min. read
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Airbus is no longer interested in acquiring the Big Data & Security division of Atos. It is the second time in months that a potential buyer has broken down deal discussions following a due diligence process.

Early January, Atos confirmed that it had entered talks for the sale of its Big Data & Security division to Airbus. Atos hoped to raise between €1.5 and €1.8 billion through the sale, to ease its heavy financial burden.

Atos must repay €4.8 billion in debt over the next five years. To finance this load, the global IT services company launched a large financial restructuring overhaul. Selling pieces of the business is part of the plan.

Airbus has not given a clear reason why it has withdrawn its interest. A statement on the website reads: “After careful consideration of all aspects of a potential acquisition of the(Big Data and Security business line, Airbus has decided it will no longer pursue discussions with Atos about this potential transaction.”

In discussions with French media, a spokesperson of the aircraft builder did provide some more insights: “We made the decision after careful consideration based on the due diligence that started at the beginning of 2024.”

In other words: the due diligence team (usually conducted by external consultants) have encountered things that are considered show-stoppers. In a due diligence investigation, companies examine their targets extensively across all kinds of areas, including financials, sales outlook, the robustness of IT systems, debt positions, risks, culture, and more.

This step in the acquisition process serves as an important confirmation of the drivers and synergies of a deal. If the results are disappointing, due diligence reports can be a reason for stopping the deal process.

In a reaction on the developments, Atos said the company will re-evaluate the situation created by the halted negotiations and is looking at strategic alternatives. Due to the collapse of the deal, Atos has had to postpone the publication of the annual results that were scheduled for tomorrow until an unspecified date.

Last month, a possible other deal fell through between Atos and the investment company of Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.