back to article Activist investor tells Airbus to end Atos Evidian talks now

Airbus should "immediately terminate negotiations" to buy a minority stake in Atos's breakaway security, big data and digital transformation business, Evidian, because it would be a costly mistake. So says activist investor TCI Fund Management Limited, which has a 3 percent-plus shareholding in Airbus, valued at €4 billion ($4 …

  1. kevin king

    "Management should therefore be totally focused on fixing the supply chain and delivering aircraft rather than being distracted by this agreement with Atos. " What so he wants Airbus to start building Fab plants instead, if management could fix the supply chain issues at the moment I'm sure they would, till more capacity is brought into the market worldwide that's not going to happen. If China has the hit from CV19 they expect its going to be a long ride to 2025.

  2. lglethal Silver badge

    Yes because the team that are focused on Supply chains is going to be the same team dealing with potential acquistions? Oh you mean they might actually be two separate teams, that are completely unrelated. But definitely I can see how the acquistions team doing, you know, acquistions will affect the Supply chain team managing the supply chains. I totally see that, dont you? Ahh I see the problem, you're not wearing your Activist Investor glasses! They're the ones that remove any sense of perspective, and chirp "Implement Layoffs" at random intervals during the day...


    1. Outski

      They're the ones that remove any sense of perspective, and chirp "Implement Layoffs" at random intervals during the day...

      while unsurprisingly calling for increased dividends and share buybacks...

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        To be fair, the Top Brass getting all enthused about the new shiney, and letting the hard problems slide has always been an issue.

        If the Execs are bored, go get an interesting job, and make room for someone not bored with running an aircraft company.

        If it is just French being French, then it is enirely in order for the shareholders to tell them to F right off.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Indeed. "Don't give the money to them, give it to meeee!"

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the article

    Hohn says... "The last thing management needs is a new problem child to distract it from Airbus' core business".

    Seems to me that Hohn was describing himself and should therefore fuck off out of Airbus' face as he is a distraction.

  4. NoneSuch Silver badge

    "If such a transaction with Evidian is consummated and there is evidence that it is, in part, a politically motivated and justified transaction, then all directors may be in breach of their fiduciary duty and we reserve our rights to litigate for shareholder damages and hold the directors personally liable for these damages."

    So, by inference, if the deal makes money the shareholders will return any profits back to the company in good conscience?

    'Do what I want, or we sue you' is the act of a child.

    3% ownership? STFU.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Not just that, but both France and Germany own golden shares because Airbus is in a strategic business. No idea whether the deal makes commercial sense but then not everything in Airbus has to. It has been commercially successful despite government intervention. But the commercial success has come from making very good planes and ensuring reasonable competition.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        @Charlie Clark

        "despite government intervention".

        There would be no Airbus without government "intervention". Airbus main owners are France (11%), Germany (10.9%) and Spain (4.1%).

        There is also a lot of American shareholders.

        Originally Britain wanted to be part of it too but that come to nothing and the shares went to Germany. You can read about it on, for instance, the Wikipedia.

        European countries are simply to small to always be able to produce alone on private capital companies like Airbus.

        And what is wrong with that.

        Something we came to understand well here in the Nordic countries.

        "The company has three divisions: Commercial Aircraft (Airbus S.A.S.), Defence and Space, and Helicopters, the third being the largest in its industry in terms of revenues and turbine helicopter deliveries.

        As of 2019, Airbus is the world's largest airliner manufacturer.".

        I suppose your assumption of government intervention is that it's always negative but that would depend on the government after all.

        1. druck Silver badge

          This is all about France trying to avoid the EU state aid rules again, by using their stake in Airbus to get them to bail out another failing French company. It is not an investment which is in Airbus' best interest.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Thanks for the extra information, especially the actual shareholding breakdown. Just goes to show what complete waste of time "activist" investors are.

          Government intervention should always be viewed with a certain degree of scepticism because of the tendency to pick winners or bail out zombies. If a company does fulfil a strategic role then, by all means ringfence it. But, wherever possible, avoid special treatment. The EU has been working at this for 30 odd years and has broadly got it right, though there are still too many cosy utilities out there.

  5. Someone Else Silver badge

    Could they accidentally be right, for a change? Nah....

    Upon first glance, it appears that TCI might actually have a point. I mean, how 80's is it that an airliner manufacturer would invest heavily in a foundering Big Data company -- a field in which they have no expertise, and has the same relationship to their core business as a fish has to a bicycle?

    Something about a stopped clock being right occasionally comes to mind.

    But then, they blew it.

    So how would Hohn prefer Airbus spend its "prodigious and rising cashflow"? Increasing dividends or buying back company stock were two possibilities proposed by TCI, which also told Google to make more layoffs.

    So TCI opens their kimono1 and exposes themselves to be the same ol' brain-dead, slobbering, self-centered, money-grubbing Vulture capitalists2 we've all come to know and love3.

    1A phrase I haven't heard in El Reg for quite some time...

    2Sorry, no offense/offence meant to El Reg for the use of "Vulture".

    3For vanishingly small values of "love".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    “An Atos shareholder has already criticized management, saying the turnaround effort to improve financial results is "too ambitious and complicated."

    Simply not being shit comes to mind as a great turnaround plan for Atos. You know delivering stuff - on time, to spec, to budget that is performant to customers…. ask The UK's National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) for example.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: Atos

      The main goal of companies like Atos is not to deliver, but to bill.

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