Airbus interested in taking over Atos's cybersecurity business -report



PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) - European aero and defence conglomerate Airbus AIR.PA is interested in taking over the cybersecurity business of French software company Atos ATOS.PA , France's BFM TV said on Thursday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

Airbus said it had no comment on market rumours or speculation.

"As a global company we are in constant discussion with our partners, customers and suppliers across the industry - these conversations are private in nature," Airbus said in an e-mail to Reuters.

Atos declined comment, reiterating its BDS cybersecurity business was not up for sale.

By 0810 GMT, Atos shares gained 3%, having risen as much as 4% in early dealings.

BFM, in its report, cited one source as saying Airbus had been looking into a potential acquisition of Atos over the last few weeks, driven by its interest in the field of cybersecurity, but added that at this stage, no outright takeover was on the cards.

"(Airbus CEO) Guillaume Faury believes that this topic (Atos) is too complicated given Airbus's interests," BFM cited one source as saying.

The report added that the group therefore opted against buying Atos as a whole as it had no interest in acquiring the French firm's other activities.

Last month Atos said its cybersecurity arm, BDS, was not for sale after sources told Reuters that French defence company Thales TCFP.PA was working on a plan to buy the business, having approached private equity firms about exploring a joint offer and break-up.

Thales said at the time it would potentially be interested in any cybersecurity activities that were on sale, but that no discussions were under way with Atos.


Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; additional reporting by Tim Hepher, Dominique Vidalon Mattieu Rosemain; editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Jason Neely

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