G4S takeover auction ends as both suitors say latest offers are final

22 February 2021, 09:04

A G4S van
Air Transat pilots court case. Picture: PA

GardaWorld and Allied University said on the first day of a Takeover Panel auction that their £3.7bn and £3.8bn offers will not be increased.

Canadian security giant GardaWorld and US rival Allied Universal have said they will not be increasing their respective £3.7 billion and £3.8 billion bids for G4S, bringing an auction process to an end.

GardaWorld said anything higher than 235p-a-share would overvalue G4S due to a series of unspecified corporate governance issues at the firm.

Allied Universal confirmed its 245p-a-share offer, which has already been accepted by G4S, is final.

Shares in G4S fell 26.5p, or 9.85%, to 242.5p on Monday morning as shareholders hopeful for a higher offer were left disappointed.

Stephan Cretier, founder, chairman and chief executive of GardaWorld, said: “There can be no better owner for G4S than GardaWorld, but we are disciplined buyers and we will not overpay for a company with systemic ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues that continue to come to light.”

He added: “A successful integration of G4S, a 530,000-employee platform operating in 85 countries, will require sizeable resources, addressing its issues will require greater investment, and, without satisfactory engagement from G4S, we have been unable to complete our due diligence.”

G4S has previously rejected GardaWorld’s bid but the Takeover Panel, a body which regulates mergers and acquisitions mainly of listed firms, said the two rivals would be given a chance to make bids for the company in the week beginning February 22.

It said previously that “on the basis that neither offeror has declared its offer final, such that either offer may be increased or otherwise revised, a competitive situation continues to exist”.

But, on Monday morning, the Takeover Panel said the auction process has ended with both sides confirming their positions.

The race for G4S was kicked off in late September last year when GardaWorld made its first bid, valuing the company at nearly £3 billion.

Two months later it upped its offer to just under £3.7 billion, and reduced the acceptance rate it needed from shareholders to 50% and one vote from 90%.

A week later, Allied Universal entered the race with a £3.8 billion bid which needed 90% acceptance.

By Press Association