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G4S faces hostile 3 billion takeover bid from private equity-backed group

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UK security group G4S faces hostile £ 3bn takeover bid backed by private equity firm BC Partners, which calls for shareholder support after the FTSE-listed company pushes back its approaches three times in three months.

Montreal-based GardaWorld, in which BC Partners has a 51% stake, offered 190 pence per share on Aug.31, worth £ 3 billion, he said in a statement on Monday.

The bidders urged G4S shareholders to force its board of directors into talks with them, saying they had been repeatedly “summarily dismissed or ignored” after an initial approach on June 15. Rarely do private equity firms threaten a hostile approach.

A successful transaction would be one of the largest equity investments in the UK in recent years and is central to a strategy developed by BC Partners, which plans to buy G4S since investing in GardaWorld last year, according to someone familiar with the subject. .

“G4S needs an owner, not a director,” said Stephan Crétier, founder and CEO of GardaWorld on Monday. “GardaWorld has 25 years of experience in the industry and we know how to improve and reuse this business.”

G4S shares jumped 25% to 182.45 pence on Monday after the security firm announced the move.

“This is an offer your board should not ignore,” BC Partners chairman Raymond Svider and Mr. Crétier said in a letter to G4S chairman John Connolly on Aug. 31.

“This is an offer that we think your shareholders would consider very seriously. . . You can now choose to engage, which we hope you do and enjoy, or not. ”

The deal would be funded with equity from BC Partners and debt that three banks had already agreed to provide, the letter said.

G4S shares fell at the start of the pandemic in February and March, hitting a low of just under 70p in early April, but have since regained some of their value. G4S declined to comment.

GardaWorld abandoned a £ 3bn buyout approach for G4S in May of last year. BC Partners bought its stake in the Canadian firm just over two months later, with the intention of relaunching the G4S deal, a person familiar with the matter said.

G4S is one of the UK’s largest outsourcing companies, with around 500,000 employees and worldwide turnover of around £ 3.5 billion.

The company sought to rebuild itself following a series of crises beginning with the London Olympics in 2012 when it failed to recruit enough security personnel and the military had to be drafted. to compensate.

He recently won a deal to run a new £ 252million prison in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, despite a decision last year to remove it from a Birmingham prison management contract seven years earlier, after inspectors found her “exceptionally violent”.

Last week, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office accused three former G4S executives of defrauding taxpayers following a long-standing investigation into a scandal over its electronic tagging of offenders.

The decision to sue the employees comes despite G4S having reached an agreement with the OFS this year, meaning the company will not face criminal charges as long as it meets the conditions to improve its corporate governance. .

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