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G4S gets bid from US rival as it fends off £3bn GardaWorld takeover

Suban Abdulla
·2-min read
The intervention comes as G4S is already fending off a £3bn ($3.9bn) hostile approach from Canadian firm GardaWorld. Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty
The intervention comes as G4S is already fending off a £3bn ($3.9bn) hostile approach from Canadian firm GardaWorld. Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

UK security firm, G4S (GFS.L) has come under attack by another foreign rival seeking a takeover.

G4S’s board said it has received an “expression of interest” about a possible bid from Allied Universal Security Services. But, the US firm has not made a formal offer yet.

California based Allied Universal has over 200,000 employees across the US, Canada, Mexico and in the UK.

The intervention comes as G4S is already fending off a £3bn ($3.9bn) hostile approach from Canadian firm GardaWorld, which it has branded “unattractive and opportunistic.”

Last week, the takeover by GardaWorld went sour, after the Canadian company turned directly to shareholders, making a 190p per share offer.

GardaWorld, in which private equity firm BC Partners owns a 51% stake, went over the head of the G4S board accusing the firm’s directors of refusing to engage after they dismissed the £3bn offer.

Shares in G4S surged 6% (^FTSE) on Friday following the news, while its stock price went up 38% since GardaWorld announced its offer last month.

READ MORE: UK economy faces 'perfect storm' as winter looms

The British company is the biggest security firm in the world, with about 530,000 employees across 85 countries, providing guarding to embassies, prisons and justice services, sports stadiums and music events.

If it’s sold, G4S will join other UK public companies which have been taken private. Cobham was acquired for £4bn by US firm Advent International in January 2020 and satellite company Inmarsat agreed a $6bn offer by a group led by Apax (APAX.L) and Warburg Pincus last year.

In July, G4S announced that it could axe up to 1,150 jobs at its UK cash business after the coronavirus lockdown saw an increased shift to digital demand. It had already sold most of its US cash operations to Brinks in February 2020.

At the time, G4S managing director for cash solutions in the UK Paul van der Knaap had said: “Following a review of our Cash Solutions operational footprint in the UK, we are proposing to reshape the business.”

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