Orange signs €62.5m data science acquisition behind schedule

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Contract signed to buy Business & Decision, giving Orange Business Services skills in data science, analysis and IoT

Orange has signed a contract to buy nearly 64% of data science company Business & Decision, valuing the listed firm at €62.5 million.

Orange will pay cash to the majority shareholder, the Bensabat family, for the shares. The deal, at €7.93 a share, was originally announced in May and the price has not changed. However the deal is running five or six months behind schedule

Deputy CEO Thierry Bonhomme said: “The acquisition of Business & Decision and of its expertise in business intelligence and data science will significantly strengthen Orange Business Services’ operations in data analysis and governance in France and internationally.”

The deal “will strengthen our knowledge of our customers’ businesses, a key lever for accelerating the digital transformation of our enterprise customers”, added Bonhomme, who is in charge of Orange Business Services.

Business & Decision chairman and CEO Jean-Louis Didier said that “staff and customers will benefit from the extent of Orange Business Services’ skills as operator and integrator in the internet of things, cloud computing, cybersecurity and applications development, as well as from the global reach of its marketing and sales network to support multinationals throughout the world”.

The deal has taken longer than Orange expected. In May it said it planned to complete the acquisition by the end of the third quarter of 2017 – just days away. This new announcement says the deal has now been formally signed, but adds: “The deal is expected to close early 2018.”

In May Bonhomme said: “Business & Decision and Orange Business Services share a genuine digital culture based on common skill sets, while offering complementary catalogues of services to their customers. We are convinced that the combination of Business & Decision’s expertise in data and business intelligence and our dual know-how as an operator and service integrator will be a key lever that will enable us to accelerate the digital transformation of our enterprise customers and stimulate growth.”