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Atos to acquire Bull

Atos, the international information technology services company, is to acquire Bull, the computer manufacturer. Both companies are headquartered in France and the transaction is proceeding with the full agreement of the boards of both companies.

With revenues of €1,262 million in 2013, and operations across more than 50 countries, Bull is a leading player in cloud, cybersecurity, and big data, and is the European leader in high-performance computing.

This acquisition will reinforce Atos' position in cloud operations with around €400 million of revenue in cloud services, including Canopy. Canopy is Atos’ cloud computing solution which delivers cloud-based enterprise IT solutions including consultation and software as well as cloud infrastructure through a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model. It is hoped the addition of Bull will substantially accelerate time-to-market for specific technologies, relevant to Cloud, as Bull brings new technical capabilities and technologies that Canopy already had in its R&D roadmap.

In a joint release from Bull and Atos it was reported that Atos intends to create a single big data & cybersecurity entity under the Bull brand with revenue of around €500 million. The objective is to use Atos' global reach and existing operations in those segments with Bull expertise in cybersecurity and in high-performance computing (HPC).

The market for big data is growing at more than 40 per cent per year and is expected to reach €12 billion by 2015 . Big data requires HPC technology so that information can be accessed quickly and Bull is the European leader in this market. Atos' vertical market knowledge, large customer base, and systems integration capabilities combined with Bull's expertise in HPC infrastructure, will expand Atos' service offering and bring HPC business at scale. This will also allow Atos to further develop analytics solutions and propose big data services to establish its position.

The new Group will benefit from in-house R&D, patented technologies, specifically designed hardware and software products in selected segments, such as cybersecurity and cloud security.

The acquisition will strengthen Atos' European leadership, especially in France where combined revenue will exceed €2 billion with a strong footprint in the public and banking sectors.

The transaction will enhance Atos position within the IT sector but the acquisition of Bull also represents new markets for Atos which has not been known for its experience with high-performance computing. The offer values the fully diluted share capital of Bull Group at approximately €620 million.

Thierry Breton, Chairman and CEO of Atos, said: ‘I welcome this combination as a major step to anchor our European leadership in cloud, big data, and cybersecurity, toward our 2016 ambition to become a Tier 1 company and the preferred European global IT brand. Bull's highly recognised teams in advanced technologies such as high computing power, data analytics management, and cybersecurity, ideally complement Atos' large scale operations. Thanks to our integration capabilities and operational effectiveness culture, this transaction will strongly benefit Bull and Atos clients, employees, and shareholders.’

In the UK, Atos have been criticised for the management of controversial contracts unrelated to computing or IT generally, but won by its healthcare division to carry out 'Work Capability Assessments' of disabled people on behalf of the UK Government's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Atos currently holds £3bn worth of UK Government contracts providing services to a wide range of Government organisations.

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