Atos SE announced that Chairman Bertrand Meunier is stepping down and pushed back the sale of its legacy business to billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.
(Bloomberg) — Atos SE announced that Chairman Bertrand Meunier is stepping down and pushed back the sale of its legacy business to billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.
Meunier, who’d come under fire from some shareholders for his turnaround plan for the embattled French IT company, will be replaced by board member Jean Pierre Mustier, the company said in a statement on Monday.
Separately, the company said a deal to split off its legacy IT outsourcing business in a sale to Kretinsky’s EP Equity Investment is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024, pushed back from as soon as the end of this year because of the expected timing of regulatory approvals.
Should the transaction with EPEI not go forward, Atos “will have to access the debt and equity capital markets” and might have to “consider the sale of additional assets” to ensure it has the liquidity to address upcoming debt maturities in 2025, Atos said.
Atos plans to sell its legacy Tech Foundations business while its remaining operations — which include its supercomputer, big data and cybersecurity units — remain listed under the name Eviden. Eviden would get a €100 million ($105 million) net boost to its cash and would transfer billions of euros in liabilities to the Tech Foundations business.
The French company’s shares have lost about 90% of their value in the past three years after it was late to offer cloud services and its customers migrated to more technologically advanced rivals.
As part of the spinoff plan, the company agreed with its financing banks last year an interim debt package of €2.7 billion. That package consists of a €1.5 billion term loan, which comes due in January but can be extended by a year, and a €300 million loan that Atos has almost fully repaid. It also includes a revolving credit facility of €900 million.
Atos said it is negotiating waivers with its banks as part of the Tech Foundations sale as well as a smaller term loan to replace its €1.5 billion facility, which will mature in December 2026, once the deal closes.
(Adds details on debt in final two paragraphs)
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