HomeBussinessRoyal Mail suitor Kretinsky eyes bid for troubled French tech giant

Royal Mail suitor Kretinsky eyes bid for troubled French tech giant

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Mr Kretinsky’s Royal Mail bid was rejected but he is expected to return with an improved offer.

His involvement in Atos is understood to be entirely separate from his interest in Royal Mail.

However, both approaches are sure to draw intense government scrutiny. The French state has pledged to contribute €50m towards an “interim financing” deal for Atos, signifying the company’s strategic importance in the country.

Overseas bids often receive hostile receptions from the Elysee. Famously the French government made clear it opposed foreign ownership of yoghurt-maker Danone in 2005, on strategic economic grounds.

Atos said on Monday it had received four restructuring bids, including from the business’s existing bondholders and banks, US private equity group Bain Capital and Onpoint, which is already a major shareholder.

Atos said it expects to select a restructuring offer by the end of this month, anticipating “radical changes in the capital structure of the company and significant new equity issuance that will result in a massive dilution of the existing shareholders”.

So far, the board has decided “not to pursue discussions with Bain Capital, as the submitted offer does not meet the stated objectives of the company to consider its full perimeter.”

Paul Saleh, Atos’s chief executive officer, said: “I am confident that a final agreement can be reached by the July target that would assure the continuity of operations to our clients and be in the best interest of Atos’ employees, clients, suppliers, creditors, shareholders and other stakeholders.”

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