Wednesday 2 December 2020 9:06 am

Gardaworld jacks up offer for G4S as pursuit goes on

Gardaworld has this morning jacked up its offer for G4S as the Canadian firm shows no signs of giving up its pursuit of the FTSE 250 outsourcer.

The improved offer values G4S at 235p per share, up from 190p per share before, giving the company a total value of £3.7bn.

Read more: G4S board calls for no shareholder action as Gardaworld extends offer until 16 December

It also said that it had agreed at £770m support package with G4S’ UK pension trust, one of the areas its takeover bid has focused on.

In addition, Gardaworld now needs just 50 per cent of shareholders – plus one vote – to approve the deal, down from 90 per cent before.

Shares in G4S jumped 7.5 per cent as markets opened this morning to trade around 245p.

The company’s board said that it was evaluating the offer and would provide an update in due course.

Gardaworld’s latest offer – which it said was final – comes after months of back-and-forth between the two companies.

The Canadian firm, which is significantly smaller than G4S, has raised the price of its bid four times since first approaching shareholders in the summer.

Throughout, G4S’ board has remained adamant that Gardaworld’s offers have “significantly undervalued” the firm, which provides services such as prison management,.

The dogged pursuit has at times descended into acrimony, with both sides seeking to convince shareholders of the weaknesses of the other.

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This morning, Gardaworld chief executive Stephen Cretier said: “Shareholders have a simple choice: remain invested in a company which has consistently failed them and the wider community for so many years, or realise their investment in cash, at a significant and highly attractive premium.

“Despite the excuses, claims, promises and ‘aspirational targets’ advanced during the course of the bid defence, the stark fact is that G4S is ex-growth and faces serious challenges. The real numbers are completely at odds with the rhetoric.

“G4S has been steadily weakened by a senior management team which has destroyed nearly £1 billion of value in the last seven years, wasted hundreds of millions on restructuring programmes that do nothing for margins and chased an unsustainable dividend policy fuelled by debt and disposing of assets on the cheap.

“It’s time for G4S to get back to its entrepreneurial roots. G4S needs an owner-operator that understands the people-orientated nature of the sector with the resources, time and expertise to solve the many challenges faced by the business.”

Read more: G4S shareholders told to reject GardaWorld bid as it resumes dividend pay

Today’s offer comes after Gardaworld extended the deadline for acceptance of its offer until 16 December.

US firm Allied Universal, which has also expressed an interest in buying the company, has until 9 December to make an offer.

As of yesterday, just 0.17 per cent of shareholders have backed the takeover.