G4S chief in last-minute battle on deal

SECURITY group G4S will not back down from an investor vote on its controversial £5.2bn takeover of ISS despite the Co-operative Group and Harris Associates joining the growing ranks of those against the deal.

Sources said G4S has received the backing of several unnamed investors and that chief executive Nick Buckles will press ahead with tomorrow’s emergency general meeting. The board of G4S needs to win 75 per cent of votes cast for the buyout and £2bn cash call to go through.

City A.M. understands the Co-op is voting against the takeover of cleaner and caterer ISS because it feels G4S is paying a high price for a business of lower quality and there are better structural growth opportunities in the security sector. It is also concerned about opening a rights issue against a backdrop of economic turmoil.

Schroders, Artemis and London hedge fund Parvus have all come out against the takeover and several more global asset managers are sceptical.

Harris Associates said yesterday it cannot support the current deal.

City speculation has focused on whether Buckles and chairman Alf Duch-Pedersen could survive if the deal is rejected but they received some support yesterday. David Brockton at Execution Noble said that a vote against the deal would be seen as a rejection of a single decision by management rather than “a vote against their continued involvement with the business” or their growth plan.