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BT to sell French services business to Computacenter

BT and services firm Computacenter have entered into exclusive negotiations on the acquisition of BT’s domestic operations in France by Computacenter. BT’s domestic operations in France include the management and maintenance of IT and network infrastructure, as well as networking and related professional services.

During the fiscal year ending in March 2019, they generated total revenue of around £104m (€118m). The acquisition would enable Computacenter to strengthen its position in the French networking market and increase the number of its major domestic customers in France. 

The planned transaction is part of BT’s ongoing transformation of its Global unit, which includes offloading non-core assets, as it “sharpens its focus” on delivering next-generation networking, cloud and security services to multinational organisations.

Last December, BT reached an agreement for the sale of its Spanish managed ICT services business, including its domestic network infrastructure, to funds managed by Portobello Capital.

BT says it would retain a “strong presence” in France serving multinational businesses and organisations, including access points to its global network and a cyber security operations centre. BT and Computacenter says they also intend to enter into a partnership agreement in France, ensuring continuity for existing customers and future growth opportunities.

Mike Norris (pictured), CEO of Computacenter Group, said: “This planned acquisition represents a small increase in our current revenues in France, which totalled €644.7m in 2019. The current coronavirus pandemic shows the importance of secure and reliable networks to our customers and this deal would significantly strengthen our existing French business in this growth area.

“It would bring our customer offering in France closer to the broader portfolio in our larger European markets, providing a strong foundation for our continued long-term growth.”

Bas Burger, CEO of Global, BT, said: “With this agreement we are close to reaching another milestone in the execution of our strategy to make BT Global a more agile business focused on the growing requirements of our multinational customers.”

Earlier this month, BT unveiled its Security Advisory Services practice, marking another step in the ongoing expansion of its cyber security capabilities. The practice will offer strategic security guidance and solutions to organisations worldwide, “reflecting market demand for expert guidance” to “navigate today’s complex cyber security landscape”, said BT. The French transaction is subject to consultations with local works councils over a minimum period of two months. The two firms stressed that the process will adhere to any additional French government guidance issued as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It will then be subject to regulatory approval, with completion expected to take place by the end of 2020.