Atos' cybersecurity arm is not up for sale, spokesperson says


FILE PHOTO: People walk in front of the Atos company's logo in Paris, France, April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The cybersecurity BDS division of France's Atos is 'not up for sale', a spokesperson for the IT consulting firm said on Thursday, after sources said defence company Thales was working on a potential offer.

Sources told Reuters on Wednesday that French company Thales was working on a plan to buy the cybersecurity business of IT consultancy group Atos, in a potential $3 billion tie-up likely to test the political determination for shoring up France's digital defences.

Atos shares jumped by more than 10% on the news. They were down by 2.1% at 0822 GMT.

"BDS is not for sale," Atos' spokesperson said. "We are focused on our turnaround plan and we're convinced of the considerable turnaround potential of the group."

Thales, which ranks as Europe's largest defence electronics company, and its adviser Centerview Partners have approached several private equity firms including Bain Capital to explore a possible joint offer as part of a deal that would involve a complex break-up of Atos, the sources said.

Thales said after market close on Wednesday that it was "potentially interested" in any cybersecurity asset up for sale and that there were no talks underway with Atos.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Additional reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Elaine Hardcastle)

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