French technology giant Atos has acquired Unify, a €1.2 billion revenue joint venture between The Gores Group and Siemens active mainly in Europe and in the Americas. Roughly 5,600 employees in over 60 countries will join Atos.
Founded in 2008 as Siemens Enterprise Communication, Unify provides end-to-end communications software and services supporting social collaboration, digital transformation and business performance*. The company, a joint venture between The Gores Group (51%) and Siemens (49%), has 5,600 employees in over 60 countries, and generates €1.2 billion in revenues.
With the acquisition, for a reported value of €590 million**, Atos buys itself a major market share in the market for unified communications, one of the fastest growing segments in the IT services landscape. On the back of large trends such as the Internet of Things – which could add up to add up to $11.1 trillion to the global economy by 2025 – Industry 4.0 (set to reshape the industrial landscape) and the rise of connected devices, communication between devices and machines will in the coming years stand at the heart of operational improvements and innovation.
According to Thierry Breton, Chairman and CEO of Atos, the addition of Unify to the company’s portfolio will also provide significant synergies in offerings, enabling the firm to up its end-to-end digital transformation capabilities. “Customer are looking for seamless services solutions for their entire digital portfolio and a reliable partner that can service their needs end-to-end. Unify’s portfolio and customer base is a perfect match that uniquely complements existing Atos digital capabilities,” says Breton. With over 3,000 patents, Unify is recognised by industry analysts as a “leader” in corporate telephony and a “visionary” for unified communications.
The move builds on Atos’ strong partner relationship with Siemens, which dates back to the summer of 2011, when Atos purchased Siemens IT Solutions for €850 million, and at the same time struck a long term strategic partnership with the Germans. Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens, says he is convinced that Atos can offer a sustainable future for Unify and its customers, adding “Atos is a proven and a trustful partner.”
The Gores Group and Siemens is subject to regulatory approvals, with Atos hoping the deal can be finalised in the first quarter of 2016. The deal marks the second major investment in the past two years – in May last year Atos acquired IT-services firm Bull for a fee of approximately €620 million.
* Siemens Enterprise Communications changed its name to Unify on October 14, 2013, stating that the new name more accurately describes what the company is all about: unifying how people communicate and interact.
** The purchase gives Unify an enterprise value of €590 million. Atos says it is paying €340 million in cash, taking over €200 million of pension deficit and €50 million of net debt.