G4S suitor says £3.7bn bid will not be increased due to governance issues

Simon Neville, PA City Editor

Canadian security giant GardaWorld said it will not be increasing its 235p-a-share offer for UK rival G4S as an auction process for the firm starts this week.

Bosses said the £3.7 billion bid will not be increased, and warned that anything higher would overvalue G4S due to a series of unspecified corporate governance issues at the firm.

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 and accepted a £3.8 billion offer from US rival Allied Universal.

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”.

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.

With GardaWorld showing its hand and not increasing its bid, the auction process is expected to end on Thursday. G4S will most likely put the Allied Universal bid to shareholders.

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