ATOS eyes Bull acquisition to take cloud computing by the horns

Looking to take on IBM, Microsoft and Amazon

French IT services giant ATOS is looking to bolster its cloud computing credentials by acquiring fellow France-based cloud player Bull for €620 million (£503 million, $845 million).

The two firms are both flying high in the cloud arena, sitting fifth and 10th respectively in Europe. They claim that a merger could create a European cloud giant with the mettle to take on Microsoft, IBM and Amazon in Western Europe, according to a report by news agency Reuters.

The two companies reckon the move could save €80 million (£65 million) annually in cost savings within two years, equivalent to almost a third of Atos' net profit last year.

Money spinner

Acquiring Bull - which posted revenues of £1 billion last year and has operations in more than 50 countries - would also give Atos a leg-up in the fields of big data and cyber security.

Formerly known as 'Compagnie des Machines Bull', Bull rose to prominence back in the 1930s and was considered a major competitor to IBM in the mainframe market throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

A recent report by research firm Markets and Markets predicts that the value of cloud computing will grow to $121 billion (£72 billion) by 2015, up from $37 billion (£62 billion) in 2010.