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Atos Acquires Bull for $844 Million to Create European Cloud and Security Powerhouse

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French IT company Atos announced on Monday that it has acquired Paris-based cloud and security provider Bull for around 620 million euros (about $844 million US).

Atos is offering 4.90 euros per Bull’s share in cash, which represents a 22 percent premium over its closing price of 4.01 euros on Friday, the last trading day before this announcement.

Over the weekend, both Bull and Atos’ board of directors expressed unanimous support for the transaction. According to the announcement, Atos plans to eventually delist the Bull shares via squeeze-out or a subseqeunt merger.

According to the company, Bull’s big data capabilities combined with Atos solutions will create a unique offering in big data and high-performance computing. The acquisition will also extend Atos’ mission critical solutions for manufacturing, healthcare, and public sector, while expanding its footprint in France, Iberia, Poland, Africa and Brazil.

With European IT managers expressing distrust in US-based cloud services, European cloud providers have an opportunity to combine cloud offerings that target the enterprise market.

The combination of Bull and Atos will bring around 400 million euros (around $545 million US) of revenue in cloud services. Bull will also bring new technical capabilities and technologies that Canopy (its enterprise cloud offering and one-stop cloud shop) already had in its roadmap to accelerate time to market.

“I welcome this combination as a major step to anchor our European leadership in cloud, big data, and cybersecurity, toward our 2016 Ambition to become a Tier 1 company and the preferred European global IT brand,” Thierry Breton, chairman and CEO of Atos said in a statement. “Bull’s highly recognized teams in advanced technologies such as high computing power, data analytics management, and cybersecurity ideally complement Atos’ large scale operations. Thanks to our integration capabilities and operational effectiveness culture, this transaction will strongly benefit Bull and Atos clients, employees, and shareholders.”

Crescendo Industries and Pothar Investments are the largest shareholders of Bull with a 24.2 percent share capital and have both agreed to tender their shares to the Atos bid.

“Bull Group will strongly benefit from joining Atos, one of the most successful global IT company, in order to accelerate ‘One Bull’ strategic plan implementation,” Philippe Vannier, chairman and CEO of Bull Group said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to being part of this new development within which each member of staff will add their own value. Together with Atos we share the same passion for business technology.”

The combined company will see 80 million euros ($109 million US) of annual cost synergies after 24 months from the acceleration of its “One Bull” plan, and additional syergies resulting from combined international operations and reduction of purchasing and real estate. The “One Bull” plan is Bull’s strategic plan for 2014-2017, through which Bull aims to become the trusted operator for enterprise data in Europe and double its EBIT margin to 7 percent by 2017.

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