Thales is exploring a plan to potentially acquire BDS (the cybersecurity arm of Atos), according to Reuters. The strategy could involve private equity firms acquiring the remaining IT services components of Atos, the report suggested. Still, the Atos cybersecurity business is not for sale, a spokesperson told the media outlet.
Both Thales and Atos BDS rank among the world's Top 250 MSSPs. A potential Thales-BDS combination would create a cybersecurity giant in France.
The M&A speculation surfaced only a few weeks after Atos named Rodolphe Belmer as CEO and the company completed the Cloudreach acquisition. Rumors about Atos being up for sale have also surfaced from time to time. Among the reasons: Atos financial performance has generally lagged that of Accenture and other global systems integrators.
Thales and Atos: Each Has M&A Experience
Both Thales and Atos have M&A experience in the cybersecurity market.
Thales, for instance, moved to acquire Gemalto for $5.6 billion in 2017 and completed that deal in 2019. Thales gained major Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity expertise in the purchase. Ironically, the Gemalto sale to Thales surfaced only a few days after Gemalto rejected a $5 billion bid from Atos.
Meanwhile, example Atos acquisitions include:
- January 2021: In Fidem, a Canadian cybersecurity consulting firm with expertise in cloud protection, digital identity, risk management & security operations.
- December 2020: Motiv ICT Security, a major European MSSP with Security Operations Center (SOC) expertise.
- October 2020: SEC Consult Group for penetration testing, red teaming, technical assessments & cybersecurity services.
- June 2020: Paladion, an MSSP and managed detection and response (MDR) provider with SOC expertise.
- October 2019: IDnomic, a European digital identify infrastructure management company.
- More Atos acquisitions are listed here.
Story published February 2, 2022. Updated February 3 to reflect Atos stating cybersecurity unit is not up for sale.