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Wednesday 21 February 2024

Palo Alto Networks cuts revenue guidance

PANCybersecurity supplier Palo Alto Networks saw shares drop over 20% in afterhours trading after the firm guided lower for billings and revenue for Q3 and FY24.

Q2 FY24 revenue was $1.98bn, up 19% yoy, only slightly down from the 20% growth we saw in Q1. Product revenue grew 11%, while total service revenue grew 22%, with subscription revenue growing 26%, geographically growth was evenly split.

But it was guidance for the next quarter that spooked investors. For Q3, management said it expects billings to be in the range of $2.3bn to $2.35bn, an increase of 2% to 4%. Revenues are expected to increase between 13%-15% yoy in Q3, with guidance of 15%-16% for FY24 (down from 18-19% in guidance at the end of FY23). Despite short term pressures, management said that it continues to drive large deals, with its 10 highest spending customers in Q2 increasing their spend by 36%.

Management also commented that despite the many demand drivers we're seeing for cybersecurity, it is beginning to notice customers are facing spending fatigue in cybersecurity. This is a new development where adding incremental point products is not necessarily driving a better security outcome. This is driving a greater focus on ROI and total cost of ownership.

In its network security business, it continues to see progress driving growth in SASE, with Q2 the fifth consecutive quarter of 50% ARR growth. The business also continues to drive innovation in network security, refreshing its high-end 7500 series platform, and investing in new OT security capabilities. XSIAM also continues to be a significant catalyst for large transactions and growth across the business. AI was also highlighted as an opportunity in its early stages, with signs of significant demand emerging helping customers protecting the deployment of AI in their infrastructure.

As Palo Alto Networks continues its platformisation and consolidation strategy, it has begun to offer a range of programs to ease the transition from existing security products, including legacy trade-ins, no-cost introductory offers and incentives to accelerate estate standardisation. The company said it expects it may see a period of 12 to 18 months of pressure on its top-line growth rates, notably billings, as a result.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:55

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Wednesday 21 February 2024

BAE Systems prospers as global tensions rise

BAEUK defence contractor, BAE Systems has released preliminary results for its latest full year highlighting healthy growth in revenue and profit. Revenue for the year ended 31 December 2023 was up 9% to £23.078bn whilst operating profit was up 8% to £2.573bn.

For FY23, BAE’s Cyber Intelligence division delivered revenue of £2.321bn, up 5.3% on FY22. This unit comprises the US‑based Intelligence & Security business and UK‑headquartered Digital Intelligence business and covers software and services to the public and private sectors. During FY23 BAE stepped up its investment in Digital Intelligence and expects future growth in this area. 2023 also saw the opening of a new site in Manchester broadening BAE’s footprint and enabling the business to access the wider labour market.

Revenue from BAE’s Platforms and Services division (which as well as hardware includes software and services to military organisations) was £3.842bn up 6.9%. Meanwhile, BAE’s Electronic Systems division delivered revenue of £5.456bn, up 7.9%. This unit includes electronic warfare, navigation systems, optical sensors, flight control systems, precision guidance and seeker solutions, communications systems and data links, surveillance technology and space guidance.

During this morning’s earning call, BAE also showcased its £4.4bn acquisition of US-based, Ball Aerospace from Ball Corporation. The takeover was finalised on 16 February 2024. Although detailed blended financials are net yet available, for 2023 Ball achieved sales of $2.2bn and delivered EBIT of $310m.

With increasing global tensions, the leadership of BAE Systems is optimistic that its business prospects are improving. Against this backdrop the company issued guidance showing sales grow of 10% to 12% in FY24 and underlying EBIT of 11% to 13%.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:51

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Wednesday 21 February 2024

Orion Health to enhanced shared care record for Mid and South Essex ICS

Orion Health logoOrion Health is working with Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System (MSE ICS) to develop the new shared care record for the region. 

To meet NHS England’s requirement of delivering a basic shared record—Minimum Viable Solution 1.0 (MVS1)—by the end of September 2021, MSE ICS has been using a solution developed by one of its neighbouring ICS. The new approach will be designed to match the needs of the 1.2 million residents across the region and allow the ICS to meet future NHS England requirements.  

The initial priority for Orion and MSE ICS is to use the shared care record to improve care for individuals facing frailty and complex adult health issues. Work is already underway to create the data feeds, with GP data being integrated first, followed by data from acute and community providers, and then local authorities (Essex County Council, Southend City Council and Thurrock Council). MSE ICS also has ambitions to expand the range of data sources to include partners across the voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.

The shared care record is one of the most critical multi-organisational transformation programmes detailed in MSE ICS’s Digital Strategy. It is intended to help the organisation better address the most pressing health and care requirements across the region and enhance access to clinical information. This should increase the efficiency of the ICS and improve patient outcomes.  

The shared care record will be built on Orion Health’s Amadeus Digital Care Record, which is part of its Unified Healthcare Platform. The company has a strong presence in the share care record space, including supplying the solution for Cambridge and Peterborough ICS, which neighbours MSE ICS.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 09:50

Tags: nhs   health   data   partnership  

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Wednesday 21 February 2024

*NEW RESEARCH* SMB Productivity: Driving value through modernisation

In this new piece of research by Chief Research Officer, Kate Hanaghan, TechMarketView profiles SMB (small and medium sized businesses) buyers to understand whether their tech investments to accelerate digital progression have also led to improved productivity growth.

SMB Productivity: Driving value through modernisation explains that productivity growth is a challenge for firms of all sizes – and has been for some time. Implementing the right technologies in the right way can help, but SMBs face their own set of very specific challenges. They don’t always have dedicated IT expertise, meaning they can be late to adopt – and benefit from – technological advancements. Additionally, it’s difficult for smaller organisationssmb to engage directly with large technology vendors, and a direct partnership between the two is often just too impractical (given the large number of SMBs in the market, their typically small budgets, and the go-to-market model of the large vendors).

This is where the channel (the ecosystem that enables the supply of products and services from large vendors via distributors and resellers to buyers) becomes an essential piece of the jigsaw. Through Value Added Resellers (VARs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), the UK’s SMB community is not only gaining access to new technology (for example cloud-based services and smart workplaces) but it is finding ways to improve productivity levels.

A big thanks to the organisations that took part in this research (National Timber Group, McDermotts, Ascot Services, Franklins Solicitors, and DWA Claims).

The tech providers in this report are all SMBs themselves (Excenta, Croft Communications, inTEC, Digital Origin, KSM Telecom), and when SMBs work with SMBs, the whole local economy benefits. Furthermore, if local firms – such as those in legal and construction – can sufficiently digitise, this in turn improves the range and quality of services they are able to provide, which in turn also benefits the local community.

Read the report: SMB Productivity: Driving value through modernisation.
 

Contact Deb Seth if you would like to join TechMarketView or find out if your organisation already has access to our research and services.

Posted by: HotViews Editor at 09:30

Tags: research   SMB  

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Wednesday 21 February 2024

Fond memories of BT Tower

BT TowerIt has just been announced that BT Tower is to be turned into an hotel.

BT Group has sold the landmark to MCR Hotels for £275m.

BT Tower has a very special place in my heart as the place I gave many of my ‘State of the IT Nation’ speeches for the Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group. These events, which started in 2002, were mainly sponsored by BT and continue to this day. Not only did the speeches raise over £1m for the Trust in their own right, but it was THE event that introduced so many of today’s TLG supporters to the Trust.

Afterall, who can refuse the chance to ride the elevator to the top floor and then sit at a table as it revolves with the most fabulous views of London?

The BT Tower (or the Post Office Tower as it was first known) was built in 1964 and opened by Harold Wilson as part of his ‘White heat of technology’ drive. It was built to support a microwave network carrying telecoms and TV from London across the UK. But, over time, newer technology has taken over making its original use redundant.

The tower and its restaurant were initially open to the public until a bomb was placed in the toilets on the top floor in 1971. Since then it has only been used for rare corporate events – like the Prince’s Trust dinners.

But the Tower will always have a place in my heart and for other TechMarketView people like Georgina O’Toole who in 2015 took part in a fund raiser for GOSH involving climbing the tower’s 1000 stairs.

Let’s hope MCR Hotels will allow the Trust to continue this long tradition.

Posted by: Richard Holway at 09:27

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Wednesday 21 February 2024

ParentPay to acquire GDPRiS to bolster its data and cyber services to schools

ParentPayParentPay has announced it’s to acquire cloud-based data protection compliance solution provider GDPR in Schools (GDPRiS).

Founded in 2017 by ParentPay founder, the late Lynne Taylor, GDPRiS focuses on helping schools with GDPR compliance, protecting their data and safeguarding cybersecurity (including Records of Processing Activity, data protection audits, cyber incident logs, FoI request management, reporting and CPD-accredited training).

The ParentPay Group comprises a range of companies, predominantly serving schools, catering businesses, and libraries in a B2B capacity (focusing on payments, comms, and general institutional management). In 2021, the group acquired Capita’s Education Software Solutions (ESS) – home of the SIMS School Management Information System (see CMA approves ESS and ParentPay merger) in a £400m deal that saw it secure a Top Three placing in TechMarketView’s Education sector SITS supplier rankings – a position it’s held on to despite SIMS’ falling market share in the years since (see Education Suppliers, Trends, and Forecasts 2023-2026),

The acquisition of GDPRiS looks set to strengthen ParentPay’s institutional focus (the group sold off parent / pupil B2C pocket money app nimbl to Caxton Payments in April last year – see ParentPay sells nimbl to Caxton Payments to focus on MIS market) in an effort to bolster group capabilities around schools’ data management (and its SIMS brand in particular).

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:17

Tags: acquisition   GDPR   schools  

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Wednesday 21 February 2024

Accenture acquires customer analytics specialist

LogoAccenture has agreed to buy GemSeek, a Bulgaria-based customerLogo experience analytics provider with a significant presence in the UK. The acquisition is the latest to be made by the creative arm of the business, Accenture Song following a recent string of purchases including Work & Co, Rabbit’s Tale and ConcentricLife. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Founded in 2011, GemSeek offers expertise in advanced analytics and customer experience programme management, along with proprietary technologies. Today, the company employs some 170 personnel at its offices in Sofia and London. Focused on the telecommunications, healthcare, consumer goods, and financial services sectors, GemSeek’s clients include Vodafone, Virgin Media, Roche, Generali and Philips.

Through the purchase, Accenture Song will add to its data and AI capabilities. It will also establish a presence for the creative division in a new geography with GemSeek’s employees forming its founding team in Bulgaria.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:09

Tags: acquisition   analytics   AI   data   customer+experience  

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Wednesday 21 February 2024

Arcontech delivers encouraging H1

ArcontechAIM-listed Arcontech has released its latest interim results, highlighting healthy revenue growth and a leap in profits. Revenue for the six months ended 31 December 2023 was up 6.8% at £1.45m whilst the real-time market data specialist recorded an interim pre-tax profit of £539k, an increase of 44.7%. Net cash was £5.73m, down 2.9% at the half-year stage after a record dividend payment in November 2023.

Arcontech re-affirmed its current revenue guidance for FY24, however, profit before tax for the year to 30 June 2024 is expected to be slightly ahead of market expectations. This is the result of higher interest income on cash balances received than previously forecast, and a reduction in operational expenditure.

Despite the tough economic climate and the challenges faced across financial markets, Arcontech appears to have navigated this difficult period well. In October 2023 the company’s shares climbed sharply off the back of multi-year agreement with a Tier 1 bank. The deal saw Arcontech contracted to deploy its CityVision platform to support the bank’s operations in the US, with further implementations in Europe and Asia.

Encouragingly 100% of Arcontech’s revenue is now on a recurring basis and average contract periods have also increased, which should indicate better resilience and quality. Whilst conditions remain challenging for some vendors within UK financial markets, opportunities remain for those with the most relevant product set and go-to-market strategy (see: Financial Markets SITS, Trends and Forecasts 2024).

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 07:49

Tags: financialmarkets  

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Tuesday 20 February 2024

Insight takes 12% revenue knock in FY23

InsFull year results from Solutions Integrator, Insight, reflect a tough year from a top line perspective. Net sales were down 12% (constant currency) to $9.2bn. North America bore the brunt of the decline, down 13%, with EMEA down 9%. APAC saw net sales increase 1%.

Profit was a different tale, with the firm hitting a record gross profit margin of 19.5% in Q4. For the full year, gross profit was up 2% to $1.7bn. By geography, North America, EMEA and APAC increased profits by 2%, 4% and 8% respectively. EMEA remains the least profitable segment with gross margin of 16.6% (APAC 27.7%, NA 18.2%). A key driver of growth in gross profit was the Cloud segment, which saw GP jump 26% to $429m. Insight’s Core Services GP increased at a more moderate rate of 8%. Insight is forecasting FY24 gross profit growth for the Group to be “in the mid to high teens”.

The ‘culprit’ of that meaty net sales decline was the Products business, which slumped 15% over FY22 to $6.2bn. Services, a smaller ‘slice of the pie’ at $1.2bn, saw net sales rise 2%. CEO, Joyce Mullen, said to analysts that she believes “device demand will slowly improve” as 2024 unfolds.

Insight’s Solutions Integrator position sees it focus on six core areas: Intelligent Edge, Data & AI, cybersecurity, Modern Infrastructure (i.e., multicloud), Modern Apps (which includes transforming legacy apps), and Modern Workplace. The firm's range of Services covers Managed Services, Consulting Services, and Lifecycle Services. Acquisitions made during the year serve to support the development of those segments. In August 2023, it acquired Bristol-based Amdaris, followed by SADA (a Google Premier Partner) in December (supporting its Modern Infrastructure Capability in particular.

The EMEA business is led by Adrian Gregory, who was announced as the successor to the longstanding Emma de Sousa in late 2022.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:50

Tags: results  

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Tuesday 20 February 2024

Concirrus turns a profit as revenue climbs 205%

ConcirrusConcirrus, the innovative UK insurtech, has revealed a 204.6% increase in revenue for the year ending December 2023. Meanwhile, marking a significant milestone in the company’s evolution, the provider of AI-powered marine insurance intelligence moved into profitability in the second half of the fiscal. The latest news from Concirrus is especially impressive in light of the many challenges faced by insurtechs and the global economy during 2023 and considering that the company bought out its venture investors early 2023.

Founded by CEO Andrew Yeoman, Concirrus is one of the new breed of data driven innovators that are helping to transform some of the most traditional corners of the insurance ecosystem. Best known for its Quest platform, Concirrus (a former TechMarketView "Little British Battler") utilises advanced analytics, IoT and AI to help underwriters better price risks associated with marine industries (see: Pricing the pandemic – how technology is transforming risk).

With geo-political tensions on the rise, not least in shipping lanes of the Middle East, underwriting cargo vessels, global trade and the movement of goods has become considerably more complex of late. In light of this and the changing face of the insurance industry, the benefits of Concirrus’ technology-based approach to pricing risk have perhaps never been more apparent. Congratulations to Andrew and the folks at Concirrus on their latest important milestone and achievements during 2023!

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:30

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Tuesday 20 February 2024

MHR wins at LSHTM for cloud-based HR and payroll

MHRThe London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has awarded a contract worth £1m to Nottingham-based MHR to replace its HR and payroll systems with a SaaS-based solution.

LSHTM’s users are primarily located in the UK, however a period of expansion into overseas partnerships in Africa (specifically Uganda and The Gambia) has seen acquisition of a global workforce. This change in business requirements for the institution’s complete employee lifecycle management had caused it to review its current Zellis ResourceLink platform (in place since 2011) and go out to tender for a cloud-based replacement with global capabilities as part of an initiative which began with pre-market engagement three years ago (February 2021).

MHR netted a Top 20 ranking and featured as one of our Suppliers on the rise in TechMarketView’s Education Suppliers, Trends, and Forecasts 2023-2026 report, with the company citing that 72% of university staff are paid using the company’s iTrent HR and payroll software (according to the company, over 1,700 organisations within education rely on MHR to support their HR, payroll and finance needs—from universities, to schools and colleges, to multi-academy trusts).

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:22

Tags: contract   payroll   award  

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Tuesday 20 February 2024

LockBit ransomware disrupted by law enforcement

logoNotorious ransomware group LockBit has been disrupted through a combined law enforcement operation involving 11 countries dubbed ‘Operation Cronus’. According to a banner displayed on LockBit's data leak website, the site is now under the control of the UK’s National Crime Agency, working in close cooperation with the FBI and the international law enforcement task force.

While LockBit's leak site is no longer accessible, some of the gang's other dark web sites (including other sites used to host data and send private messages to the gang) are still up. Police have also taken down LockBit's affiliate panel and added a message saying LockBit source code, chats, and victim information were also seized. The law enforcement agencies behind Operation Chronos are expected to publish a joint press release later on today with further details.

The LockBit ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation surfaced in September 2019 and has since become one of the largest ransomware threats. Attacks using the LockBit ransomware have targeted organisations including the Ministry of Defence (See Ministry of Defence targeted in cyber attack by LockBit), Royal Mail (See A rare insight into ransomware negotiations and Dublin HQ’ed ION group (See ION licks its wounds after ransomware attack). Thousands of other organisations across the globe have also been victims.  Its unlikely of course that this will be the end of LockBit, but hopefully the disruption will be have been significant enough to put a dent in its operations for some time.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:21

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Tuesday 20 February 2024

Excellent Temenos results exceed expectations

TemenosLeading banking software provider, Temenos, has released its latest annual results, highlighting excellent growth and continued positive momentum. The financials for the twelve months ended 31 December 2023 comfortably exceeded Temenos’ previous guidance with Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) up 16% to $730m and total revenue up 5% to $1bn.

With Temenos having successfully navigated the shift away from upfront licence fees, full-year revenue from software licensing was up 10% at $443m. SaaS was up 25% at $205.1m, subscriptions revenue was up 52% at $160.4m and “legacy” term license revenue was $78.1m. For FY23 Temenos delivered EBIT of $199.4m (representing growth of 22%) and Free Cash Flow of $243m (up 26%). The Swiss vendor is enjoying continued strong performance in Europe, with multiple large bank deals signed during the final quarter of the fiscal. Tier 1 and Tier 2 banks contributed 46% of Temenos’ total software licensing in Q4 and 43% during FY23 as a whole.

Commenting on the results, Temenos CEO, Andreas Andreades, emphasised the excellent performance and sustained momentum during FY23, with the company having delivered results that significantly exceed the previous guidance and KPIs. Touching on the recent disruptive actions of one high-profile activist investor, Temenos reiterated the assurances of its Chairman and former Audit Committee Chair that the company is running a sound business with good financial controls in place. Temenos also indicated that it will make further comment on this topic during the company’s Capital Markets Day to be held in London later today.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:58

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Tuesday 20 February 2024

Is UK chip designer Graphcore considering a sale?

GraphcorePlenty of speculation in the media over the last couple of days that Bristol-headquartered microchip player Graphcore is exploring a sale. Back in October we outlined how the firm was looking for new funding from investors within months to continue operations, as revenue halved, and losses increased (UK AI chip designer Graphcore running out of cash). Revenue for the 2022 fell -46% yoy to $2.7m (2021: $5m) with the business posting a loss before tax of $205m (up from $185m in 2021).

R&D is a very expensive business and Graphcore has bet big on developing the next generation of intelligence processor unit (IPU) technology that will power an ‘ultra intelligence’ AI computer called ‘The Good Computer’, as well as building out its cloud AI infrastructure. The firm has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from the likes of Microsoft and Sequoia Capital (Graphcore completes $200m funding round) but has struggled to win large-scale corporate customers, despite many companies such as Microsoft, Open AI and Meta all looking to develop their own AI chips due to shortages for NVIDIA GPU’s. The firm has recently cut costs including staff reductions and closed international offices.

For Graphcore the future looks uncertain and with nothing official from the firm to date we will report more as the story develops. Any sale may of course face government scrutiny given the national strategic importance of AI. 

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 08:45

Tags: chips   AI   sale  

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Monday 19 February 2024

Go-ahead given for UK mass legal action against Meta/Facebook

MetaA UK judge has given the go-ahead for a mass legal action against Facebook owner Meta, seeking around £3bn in compensation for 45 million UK Facebook users who used the service between February 2016 and October 2023.

The action is being brought by legal academic Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, funded by Innsworth, the litigation funding arm of the Elliott Management Corporation investment management fund (which has also funded mass legal actions against Oracle and Salesforce in The Netherlands, Mastercard in the UK, Ericsson in Sweden, and German ‘Dieselgate’ emissions claims against Volkswagen and Porsche).

The case, due to be heard by in the next two years, alleges that the company “struck an unfair bargain with its users” regarding data sharing practices with third parties that had become "a condition of accessing the Facebook platform, pursuant to a 'take-it-or-leave-it' offer".

Meta is the second biggest digital advertising player in the world, with advertising revenues – 97% of its total revenues – growing by 24% to $38.7bn in Q4 2023 (ended 31 December 22023), see Amazon’s advertising revenue growth beats both Alphabet and Meta.

In April 2023, Meta settled a $725m class action in the US pertaining to an allegation that Facebook shared the data of 87m users without their consent around the time of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018. The company denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to the settlement, with around 250m-280m users being eligible to claim.

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:44

Tags: compensation   legal action   data sharing  

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Monday 19 February 2024

Codestone acquires Cloud Business

LogoFast-growing Poole-HQ’d IT services firm, Codestone Group hasLogo bought Cloud Business, a 90-person strong Microsoft-centric consultancy based in Basingstoke. The acquisition aims to both further enhance the Group’s offerings in the Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, and Cybersecurity spaces and bolster its managed services capabilities. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Founded in 1997and backed by private equity firm FPE Capital since 2021, Codestone provides cloud computing business technology consulting and the delivery of ERP, SAP and Microsoft solutions to mid-market and large enterprises across the UK and Ireland. The company’s clients include Virgin, Babcock International, Close Brothers and TUI. The business has seen its revenue treble over the last three years to more £25m, in part boosted by the purchases in 2022 of SAP specialist Clarivos and data & analytics consultancy DSCallard.

The acquisition of Cloud Business brings the Group’s headcount to 340 people across nine countries. It seems unlikely that this latest buy marks an end to Codestone’s corporate development ambitions.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:56

Tags: acquisition   microsoft   IT+services  

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Monday 19 February 2024

Atos: Increasing uncertainty and a plunging valuation

AtosThree weeks ago, on 26th January 2024, Atos’ share price stood at €4.45. Today (at 08:37) it stands at €2.46, a drop of 45%. Less than a year ago, the share price was above €15. The market cap of this €11.3bn revenue company is now just €271.6m. Looking back at its valuation history, this is a staggeringly low compared to its market cap five-year high of €9.84bn.

It was on 5th Feb that the share price took its deepest dive of the last few weeks, falling 30% in one day. It has continued to drift downwards since.  5th of Feb was the day when Atos announced the appointment of an independent third-party (a “mandataire ad hoc”) to help negotiate a refinancing with lenders.  The “mandataire ad hoc” acts as a mediator under French law without binding authority.

Also this day, having agreed to progress with Airbus on the BDS sale to support a €1.5-1.8bn capital raise and given the depressed Atos’ market cap, Atos announced that the conditions of the initial planned €720m rights issue were no longer applicable and the standby underwriting commitment provided by BNP Paribas and J.P. Morgan is no longer in effect. Atos stated, “Given the changes in market environment, the conditions of the initially planned €720m rights issue are no longer applicable and the standby underwriting commitment provided by BNP Paribas and J.P. Morgan is no longer in effect.”

With Atos’ options narrowing, the stock market was spooked. Now, the pressure is really on for its negotiations with lenders to be successful ahead of its debts maturing. Debts totalling €4.8b will mature between 2024 and 2029. Atos also announced that, “possible changes in its capital structure could result in a dilution to existing shareholders”. Atos is also in continuing negotiations with both EPEI (on the proposed sale of the Tech Foundations business) and with Airbus (on the proposed sale of the Eviden business) – see Atos taking action to strengthen financial position | TechMarketView – but doubts have been mounting around these sets of talks leading to a successful conclusion. The former talks are the most crucial if Atos is to avoid entering into debt restructuring.

The short-term issue for all parts of Atos – including the UK – is that the uncertainty is now impacting dealings with clients and prospects. This quarter (to end March) is the toughest for the business yet, as the organisations that it deals with start becoming more aware of the refinancing hurdles that the business faces, and delay decisions. The hope will be that we will see some clarity by the springtime, both in terms of the refinancing and the potential sales. 

Both the Atos (Tech Foundations) and Eviden (digital, cloud, big data, and security) sides of the business have made solid progress in transforming their businesses over the last year or so and have seen some benefit at the topline from their renewed focus. In Northern Europe & APAC, the Q323 results highlighted that order entry for Tech Foundations was particularly strong in the UK, and Eviden recorded “near record Q3 levels on upsell/cross-sell business” (Atos Q3: Resilience in Northern Europe & APAC | TechMarketView). We are definitely seeing some green shoots. But it will take a while for this to filter through to the balance sheet. Unfortunately, the longer the corporate uncertainty remains, the harder it will be progress further.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 08:52

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Monday 19 February 2024

Civica lands NI identity contract

CivicaThe Northern Ireland Executive’s Department for Finance has awarded a contract to Civica for a fully-managed service to develop, support, and maintain the NICS Identity Assurance Application (NIDA). The initial contract is for two years (and is worth £400k), with the option to extend by a further year.

NIDA is used to verify the identity of users accessing online government services in Northern Ireland (such as applying for driving licences, taxi licences, and fishing licences; applying for legal aid; and online applications to the Executive’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs).

Civica was recently acquired by private equity firm Blackstone (see Blackstone to acquire Civica) and was featured in the Top Ten suppliers in TechMarketView’s recent Local & Regional Government Suppliers, Trends, and Forecasts 2023-2026 report, with other recent wins including a deal with West College Scotland earlier this month (see Civica lands West College Scotland deal).

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 08:38

Tags: contract   identity   award   NI  

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Monday 19 February 2024

Latest research from TechMarketView

TMV logoWhether you are looking for insight on the state of the UK public sector tech market and the likely impact of a General Election, or trying to understand where the opportunities will be in the financial services sector as it adopts AI, our latest research is essential reading for a damp February morning!

Make sure you haven’t missed our most popular latest research:

From PublicSectorViews
Public Sector Predictions 2024
Local & Regional Government Suppliers, Trends & Forecasts
Police Suppliers, Trends & Forecasts

From FinancialServicesViews
Financial Services Predictions 2024
Financial Markets Suppliers, Trends & Forecasts

From SustainabilityViews
Sustainability Predictions 2024
The Legal Landscape for ESG

From TechSectorViews
Artificial Intelligence: Market Trends, Use Cases & Suppliers
Immersive Customer Experience: Progress, Possibilities & Prognosis

From the Foundation Service
TechMarketView Predictions 2024
Market Outlook Update

Logged in subscribers can click the links above to be taken directly to the report. (If you need to reset your password, head here).

As always, if you’d like details of our various subscription packages just drop us an email to info@techmarketview.com.  

Posted by: TMV Team at 08:16

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Friday 16 February 2024

OpenAI launches ‘Sora’ text to video AI model

logoThe advances in AI model capabilities are happening at a pace that makes you really stop and wonder how the world is going to look in 5-10 years and how the jobs and tasks many of us take for granted today may be transformed through AI.

Yesterday, OpenAI launched its new AI tool and model Sora. Sora is a text to video generation model which the company says is capable of creating photorealistic videos upto a minute long, all based on text prompts (and your creativity in phrasing them).

Sora is able to generate complex scenes with multiple characters, specific types of motion, and accurate details of the subject and background. The model understands not only what the user has asked for in the prompt, but also how those things exist in the physical world. The model can also generate a video based on a still image, as well as fill in missing frames on an existing video or extend it.

Open AI openly admits the model still has its weaknesses. It may struggle with accurately simulating the physics of a complex scene, and may not understand specific instances of cause and effect. For example, a person might take a bite out of a cookie, but afterward, the cookie may not have a bite mark.

Access is only being granted at present to red teamers to assess critical areas for harms or risks, and a number of visual artists, designers, and filmmakers, and certainly for the creative industry you can see how such Gen AI tools are going to be hugely disruptive.

Words don’t really do Sora justice, so I suggest you go look at the example videos OpenAI has posted if you haven’t already (See here). On the surface I personally think the quality of the videos is astounding but let me know your thoughts.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:53

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