Thursday 12 November 2020 5:07 pm

G4S and Gardaworld trade blows as takeover spat continues

G4S and Gardaworld have exchanged fresh blows as a long-running spat over a potential hostile takeover of the British security firm drags on.

This morning the Canadian firm, which has been trying to engineer the purchase of G4S for months, said that North American regulators had cleared the way for the merger to go ahead.

It also hit out at US firm Allied Universal, which last week was revealed to also be in talks with the FTSE 250 firm about a deal.

“Unlike other real or imagined bidders, our financing is agreed, our offer is a matter of public record and our intent is serious”, chief executive Stephan Crétier said in a statement.

In response, G4S described the development as “irrelevant”, citing the “derisory” level of support Gardaworld’s 190p per share offer had thus far attracted from shareholders.

“As of Monday, the offer had received acceptances of only 0.16% of G4S’ issued share capital and this forced GardaWorld to extend the offer period to 28 November”, it said in a statement. 

G4S’ board has urged shareholders to reject the offer, which it claims “significantly undervalues” the company.

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Gardaworld has been circling the firm for a number of months now, with several offers having already been rejected by G4S shareholders.

The exchanges between the two companies have become increasingly fractious, with the Canadian firm refusing to give up the pursuit. 

The entrance of Allied Universal last week took things up a notch, with Crétier accusing G4S as “shadow boxing”.

The surprise bid, of 210p per share, raises the prospect of a bidding war for the UK firm.

Gardaworld doubled down on its criticism of the rival offer today, saying that a deal between the two would “raise significant competition issues” in the US.

According to its calculations, the combined Allied/G4S company would hold 40 per cent of the US outsourced security market.

But G4S contested the claim, saying: “GardaWorld has chosen to selectively focus on a narrow definition of the market which is clearly self-serving.

“Published research shows that the size of the US market for security services, excluding residential services, was more than $50bn in 2019 and is projected to rise to $60bn by 2024. This means that G4S combined with any of the larger players would be less than 25 per cent of the total market.”