London, NFAPost: France’s Thales is working on a plan to buy the cybersecurity business of IT consultancy group Atos in a potential $3 billion tie-up.

Thales would buy the big data and cybersecurity business, known as BDS, while private equity funds would take up the remaining IT services operations of Atos. BDS is valued at between 2 and 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) and accounts for about half of Atos’ overall revenue.

Thales and its adviser Centerview Partners have approached several private equity firms including Bain Capital to explore a possible joint offer as part of a deal that would involve a complex break-up of Atos.

Thales said in a statement it was not currently in talks with Atos over a potential takeover, adding that the company led by Chief Executive Patrice Caine was “potentially interested” in any cyber-security asset that could be up for sale.

Thales says cybersecurity generates about 1 billion euros in sales for the French defence and security company, which is controlled by Dassault Aviation and the French state, whose support would be crucial for any tie-up involving defence and security technologies to succeed.

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