Bull may sell the bulk of its European IT services group Integris to French firm Steria for around Eu300m (£183m).
According to French reports, the sale is being made to reduce Bull's debts as it seeks to return to profitability.
Analysts said that Bull has long planned to spin off its IT services group Integris, which generated around £230m in revenues last year, so an outright sale comes as no surprise. However, the favoured buyer, upstart French IT services group Steria, which has annual sales of around Eu500m (£305m), has come as a surprise.
Steria's prime English contract of late has been to implement a new system for mediating and collecting call record tickets from the telecommunications operator Global Telesystems.
Steria listed on the Paris stock exchange in late 1999 and is in the middle of an acquisition-fuelled aggressive growth strategy designed to take it through to 2002.
However, Steria won't be buying the French unit, which has annual revenues in excess of Eu450m (£274.5m). Reports said it would be sold to Caravelle and Axa Private Equity.
Anthony Miller, analyst at Ovum Holway, said: "It's always been Bull's long-term intention to sell off Integris, but I'm surprised it would be to Steria."
"Integris has had a bad run of late thanks to some contracts going sour on them," he added. "The group can probably make a reasonable living in the UK as a mid-tier services firm servicing mid-tier contracts, but its star is unlikely to shine as brightly as it did a decade ago."
From its peak in the late 80s, Bull has shrunk from 46,000 staff to 18,000.
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