The Takeover Panel has today announced it will step in to resolve a long-running bidding war for security services firm G4S.
For months two North American firms have locked horns over the FTSE 250 company, but no deal has yet been agreed.
US giant Allied Universal is currently in the driver’s seat, as its 245p per share offer – valuing the firm at £3.8bn – has been recommended by G4S’ board.
But Canadian rival Gardaworld has refused to back down, and this week extended the deadline for its 235p per share offer for another month.
As neither suitor has declared their current offer final, the Takeover Panel will now run an auction process to push the deal over the line.
Assuming the current gridlock persists, the bidding rounds will start on 22 February and continue through the week.
At the end of the bidding, neither party will be able to change their offer – unless permitted by the panel.
The long-running affair, which has at times resembled a slanging match, has done wonders for G4S’ share price.
Last March, the outsourcer’s stock was trading at just 90p per share. But 11 months later, it is now almost three times as high, at 266p.
It has also been helped by an impressive performance through the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week G4S said it had achieved an “exceptional commercial performance” in the final period, with new and retained contracts worth £5.5bn.