Airbus targets Atos cybersecurity unit, seeks $2B acquisition.

January 5, 2024
1 min read

Airbus Looks to Acquire Atos Cybersecurity Unit for Nearly $2 Billion

  • Airbus and Atos are in negotiations for the potential sale of Atos’ Big Data and Security (BDS) business, valued between €1.5 and 1.8 billion.
  • This acquisition would enhance Airbus’ cybersecurity capabilities and bridge the gap between aviation and general enterprise industries.

Airbus, one of the largest aerospace companies globally, is looking to acquire Atos’ cybersecurity arm, known as Big Data and Security (BDS), for nearly $2 billion. This potential acquisition would strengthen Airbus’ cybersecurity capabilities and address the growing need for specialized cybersecurity solutions in the aviation industry. The offer from Airbus is nonbinding, and negotiations are still in their preliminary stages.

Atos received two letters of interest for its BDS business, one of which was from Airbus. The valuation of the business is estimated to be between €1.5 and 1.8 billion, or approximately $1.65 to $2 billion. Airbus has expressed interest in Atos’ cybersecurity arm since at least March 2022 when they made an offer for a 29.9% stake in Atos’ parent division, Evidian.

The potential acquisition highlights the criticality of developing cybersecurity solutions that cater to the unique needs of the aviation industry. Avi Tenenbaum, CEO of Cyviation, a commercial airline cybersecurity company, emphasizes the importance of specialized aircraft-related cybersecurity solutions. He believes that as attack events intensify and get closer to aircraft, traditional general IT cybersecurity measures may not be sufficient.

Airbus has previously faced security lapses and is not alone in the industry. The interconnected nature of aviation systems, including airport security systems, communication networks between airplanes and air traffic control, and other crucial components, increases the attack surface and demands stringent cybersecurity measures.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the US has introduced a set of new requirements for airport and aircraft operators to address aviation security. Similarly, the European Union has implemented a framework for managing information security risks in aviation, set to take effect in 2025-26.

The potential acquisition aligns with industry trends and regulations, emphasizing the need for cyber resilience measures across the aviation industry. The European regulation in particular is expected to drive the fast adoption of cyber resilience measures by industry players, including airlines.

In conclusion, the potential acquisition of Atos’ cybersecurity unit by Airbus underscores the critical importance of developing specialized cybersecurity solutions for the aviation industry. With cyber risks increasing and the interconnected nature of aviation systems, it is necessary for aerospace companies to invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect their operations and ensure the safety of passengers.

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