Atos has completed the €620m acquisition of Bull, a deal which was first announced in May 2014. Like Atos, Bull is a largely European player. Based on 2013 data, 85% of its €1.26bn revenue comes from Europe, and that mostly from France (55%), with the rest of Europe accounting for 30% of revenue.
The high level view of the deal
One of Atos’ key objectives for the acquisition was to help it become the number one cloud services provider in Europe. Atos is targeting one of the largest markets for cloud in the world. Everest Group Cloud Vista research shows that Europe (including the UK) accounted for 50% of global cloud deals in 2013. Bull brings Atos with managed services and cloud operations which accounted for 48% of Bull’s 2013 revenue. These complement Atos’ existing managed services and cloud (Canopy) businesses. The acquisition also enhances Atos’ cyber security and big data capabilities. 26% of Bull’s revenue came from big data and security.
Looking beyond the headlines
Atos is getting much more with Bull than first meets the eye. Bull has a large number of patents related to technology, analytics, devices, power generation, conversion and distribution of electrical power as well as information storage. I believe some of these bring Atos capabilities to go beyond enterprise IT. There is a burgeoning cloud market for the Internet of Things (IoT) and the industries that are closely linked to it. Take the smart utilities sector which is a key market for Atos. Smart utilities have a growing need for managing devices and their data, and geographical information. Prior to its acquisition, Bull had announced a strategic initiative to provide new machine to machine (M2M) and IoT solutions. This was targeted at opportunities coming from smart grids, smart cities, smart building, smart home, intelligent transport systems, connected car, e-health, environment, and others.
Another aspect of the deal is to help Atos along its journey towards an IT world that is becoming increasingly software defined. That brings with it more automation in the IT infrastructure. Automation in turn increases the need for more real-time analysis of data to trigger events and activate sequences of automations at the right time. Bull’s high performance computing and analytics capabilities will enhance Atos’ ability to deliver services in the software defined world.
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