Orange denies the takeover of Atos

“The Atos takeover proposal will be supported by the directors and employee shareholders of the next Orange Board of Directors on December 2nd,” the president of CFE-CGC Orange, the leading organization, told AFP. Union member of the group, Sébastien Crozier. On the same evening, November 25, 2020, Orange contradicted this information in a press release: “Orange denies work on a project to purchase ATOS and therefore states that the issue will not be discussed at the next board meeting of Administration”.

With uncertainty hovering between the union’s and the group’s statement, one thing remains certain: the French telecommunications leader has enough to invest. On November 13, 2020, Orange won a tax dispute that had lasted since 2005. At that time the company was still called France Télécom and dissolved its holding company to Cogecom as part of an internal restructuring. And it is the treatment of this operation that started the dispute with the French tax administration. More than ten years later, Orange shows a white paw after a decision by the State Council and two decisions by the appeals court. At the end of these proceedings, the telecommunications operator received 2.2 billion euros. Le Monde argues that this amount corresponds to an overpayment of taxes by the state, which is increased by the interest generated by the sum.

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The CFE-CGC took advantage of this victory to send a letter to the directors of Orange. The union sees the court ruling as an opportunity for possible acquisitions. According to the letter reported by Le Figaro, the union believes that the acquisition of Atos would make the Orange group a “leader in cybersecurity in Europe”. The telecommunications group already has solid expertise in this area, but it is not infallible. This is evidenced by the cyber attack on the Orange Business Services office in July 2020.

In June 2020, Gartner ranked third in security services in security services based on revenue. The Digital Service Company (ESN) achieved sales of 11.6 billion euros in 2019. During the same period, the Orange division achieved sales of EUR 7.8 billion. In addition to providing financial vitality and asserting a leadership position in cybersecurity, Atos could enable Orange to embody the future European flagship of the cloud, an area in which the telecommunications group already has expertise.

If the telecommunications giant’s takeover of Atos is rumored, it is interesting to note that the successor to Orange’s CEO position, now held by Stéphane Richard, which will take place in May 2022, could play a crucial role. . Hearsay has already raised a potential candidate, Atos CEO, who is also former Orange Head of Strategy and International Development, Élie Girard.

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