Atos: small carriers lose whoever wins?

Atos: small carriers lose whoever wins?
Atos: small carriers lose whoever wins?

In the Atos case, the small shareholders have -almost- chosen their side. It is rather the candidacy of David Layani which finds favor in their eyes in the four financial proposals formulated for the rescue of the group. But they put conditions on their support for the founder of OnePoint and intend to question all the candidates about their proposals.

Because the small shareholders grouped within Udaac (Union of Shareholders of Atos Constructifs) obviously wish to support the offer which will be the most favorable for the shareholders and small shareholders of Atos.

Read alsoWhy the rescue of Atos has not yet been done despite the refinancing of its debt

If the hearts of small shareholders therefore lean more towards David Layani, they nevertheless remain attentive to the feedback that the candidates will give them: “we are going to ask them if they agree to the European refocusing and the sale of activities Americans and also what fate they reserve for shareholders when they have reduced the group’s net debt”, confides Hervé Lecesne, the largest of Atos’ small shareholders. According to him, “a sale of Atos’ activities in the United States would bring in 2 to 2.5 billion euros”, to which are added the sale of the group’s strategic activities to the French State and the reduction of debt of Atos.

“Avoid massive dilution of current shareholders”

“We believe that they would constitute a solution that respects all of the group’s stakeholders as much as possible. They would considerably reduce the need to resort to abandonment or conversion of financial debts (bonds, bank debt) and would thus make it possible to maintain good relations with the banks, long-term partners of our Company. Above all, they would make it possible to avoid massive dilution of current shareholders,” added Udaac in a press release.

A solution rejected by the current management of Atos which spoke out during its hearing in the Senate. And it is also not certain that it will satisfy David Layani, the founder of OnePoint, whose offer was formulated with the investment company of businessman Walter Butler and provides for a cash investment of 350 million euros. David Layani offered small holders the opportunity to be part of a reserved capital increase and to have shares in the new Atos, but made no mention of a sale of the group’s American subsidiaries.

Small holders indifferent to the social future of the group?

And among small shareholders, not all agree with this support shown for David Layani: “it’s simple, the only interest of small shareholders is the share price. They are disinterested in the social interest which is the survival of Atos. They give a blank check to David Layani which brings little money and a lot of debt. And they did not even try to meet Daniel Kretinsky, who plays with total transparency and showed that he had real knowledge of the file,” estimates the host of the Atos/stock market blog, himself a small investor.

Udaac is in fact opposed to Daniel Ketrinsky’s proposal, and highlights the sale of the Casino group to the Czech billionaire in which the small shareholders were, according to them, “completely robbed”. Added to this is a clear refusal of a sale of Atos to hedge funds. However, Daniel Kretinsky’s offer is associated with the German investment fund Attestor, which had already supported the Czech in the Casino file.

Small carriers who lose every time?

Suffice it to say that there are still many unknowns in the rescue equation for the Atos group, the value of which has already been divided by ten in less than two years.

It is in this context that small shareholders rather took as good news the announcement by Bercy of the sending of a non-binding letter of intent from the French State for the potential acquisition of sovereign activities housed within its Big Data & Security (BDS) entity.

Udaac officially expressed its satisfaction “to finally see the French State materialize its commitment on this issue” while specifying that they will remain “very vigilant” and that these strategic activities must be sold “at consistent valuation levels” .

But in all hypotheses, the “radical changes” in the structure of the group with the issuance of new shares will lead to a “massive dilution” of its shareholders, the current management of the group has already warned. Suffice it to say that small shareholders could well be losers regardless of who wins the ongoing battle for the takeover of Atos.

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