Atos should (finally) part with part of its assets, as announced during its disposal plan in June 2022.
The digital services company (ESN) has announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Canadian Mitel for the sale of Unify, its unified communications division. The closing of the operation is scheduled for the second half of 2023.
This activity covers remote collaboration solutions based on voice, videoconferencing or document sharing. A booming market since the health crisis and the generalization of telework. Unify is also part of the growth market for contact centers in the cloud (Contact center as a Service, CCaaS).
Turnover divided by two
Of German origin (Siemens was a 49% shareholder), Unify was bought out for 340 million euros by Atos in 2015, when the group’s former CEO (from 2009 to 2019) Thierry Breton, current European Commissioner , multiplied the acquisitions. The buyouts of Bull and Xerox ITO had notably enabled Atos to be ranked among the top five ESNs in the world.
Then number three in the world of unified communications, Unify employed 5,600 employees for a turnover of 1.2 billion euros.
Eight years later, the entity has only about 3,000 employees for a turnover of about 550 million euros. It claims some 40 million users in 90 countries.
A good operation for Mitel
The transaction would allow Mitel to consolidate its position as a global player – particularly against Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) – in unified communications, by expanding both its geographic coverage and its portfolio of products and services. The Canadian group would see its installed base exceed 75 million users and its distribution network 5,500 partners worldwide.
In terms of offerings, Mitel would accelerate its ability to meet the wide variety of enterprise communications needs with on-premises, cloud or hybrid solutions and, soon, with the acquisition of Unify, in the form of managed services.
Positioned above all on the ETI market, Mitel could be more eyeing large organizations. The provider would strengthen its position in favored industries such as healthcare, public sector, hospitality and financial services. It should be noted that Unify’s NG 9-1-1 activity – a critical communications system for emergency services in the United States – is not part of the negotiations.
Atos sanctioned by the Stock Exchange
For Atos, this transfer would make it possible to clarify its horizon somewhat. Indebted (1.8 billion in debt as of June 30), the ESN has announced its desire to split into two separate companies. The first, keeping the name of Atos, would bring together the group’s historical activities in the areas of outsourcing or workstation management. The second, called “Evidian”, would bring together “sexy” activities related to digital transformation, big data and cybersecurity.
Since then, several names of potential acquirers of Evedian have circulated. After Thales, Airbus would have engaged in “exploratory discussions”, according to The echoes. Astek, a French engineering group (outsourced R & D) has also shown interest, this time according to information from the JDD. Orange is also one of the names mentioned.
Over one year, the action of Atos has fallen by more than 62%.