G4S asks investors to reject 'opportunistic' GardaWorld takeover

GardaWorld’s offer of 190 pence-per-share is unchanged from when it first approached G4S in September. Photo: Getty

Britain’s security firm, G4S (GFS.L) has urged its investors to reject a hostile takeover offer sent to shareholders by Canadian rival GardaWorld on Saturday.

The world’s biggest security company called the timing of the offer “highly opportunistic.”

“The board recommends that shareholders reject the offer and take absolutely no action,” G4S said in a statement.

GardaWorld’s offer of 190p-per-share is unchanged from when it first approached G4S in September.

GardaWorld, in which private equity firm BC Partners owns a 51% stake, went over the head of the G4S board accusing the firm’s directors of refusing to engage after they dismissed the £3bn ($3.9bn) offer.

Subsequently, the Canadian firm turned to G4S’s shareholders putting the 190p-per-share offer directly to them.

G4S’s stock price has soared 38% since GardaWorld announced its offer last month.

READ MORE: G4S gets bid from US rival as it fends off £3bn GardaWorld takeover

Meanwhile, an official offer document released by GardaWorld on Saturday, reveals that its adviser stand to make up to £312m in fees if the Canadian firm successfully clinches shareholder’ support for the hostile takeover.

It comes as the G4S board said that it had received an “expression of interest” about a possible bid from US rival, Allied Universal Security Services (AUSS) last week. But, the US firm has not made a formal offer yet.

The security firm has about 530,000 employees across 85 countries, providing guarding to embassies, prisons and justice services, sports stadiums and music events.

If it’s sold, G4S will join other UK public companies which have been taken private. Cobham was acquired for £4bn by US firm Advent International in January 2020 and satellite company Inmarsat agreed a $6bn offer by a group led by Apax (APAX.L) and Warburg Pincus last year.

In July, G4S announced that it could axe up to 1,150 jobs at its UK cash business after the coronavirus lockdown saw an increased shift to digital demand. It had already sold most of its US cash operations to Brinks in February 2020.

At the time, G4S managing director for cash solutions in the UK Paul van der Knaap had said: “Following a review of our Cash Solutions operational footprint in the UK, we are proposing to reshape the business.”

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