Garda Raises G4S Bid to $4.9 Billion as Rival Allied Lurks
(Bloomberg) -- GardaWorld increased its hostile offer for G4S Plc to 3.68 billion pounds ($4.9 billion), the latest twist in the hotly contested pursuit of the British security provider.
Canada’s Garda said in a statement Wednesday that its 235 pence-a-share cash offer is its final proposal, unless G4S gets a firm bid from someone else. To improve its chances, Garda slashed the investor acceptance threshold to proceed to 50% plus one share, from an earlier 90%.
Bloomberg earlier reported the Montreal-based company planned to raise its bid.
Garda will be hoping it has done enough to entice G4S investors away from rival suitor Allied Universal Security Services LLC. Some top shareholders had viewed 220 pence per share as a starting point for more serious negotiations, people with knowledge of the situation said earlier.
Garda, with the backing of main shareholder BC Partners, announced an all-cash offer of 190 pence a share in September. G4S and some key shareholders rejected it as too low. As of Nov. 30, barely anyone had accepted the bid, increasing the pressure on the Canadian suitor to improve its offer or move on.
Shares of G4S jumped 7% in London to 245.1 pence as of 8:07 a.m., giving the company a market value of about 3.8 billion pounds.
To further sweeten the deal, Garda also agreed a 770 million-pound support package with G4S’s pension trustees in the U.K.
G4S now has the task of considering a bid price that’s 130% higher than its closing price on June 12, the day prior to Garda’s first approach.
Allied Universal is also preparing a fresh offer after the target rejected a proposal of at least 210 pence per share, people familiar with the matter said yesterday. The U.S. company, which is backed by Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec and buyout firm Warburg Pincus, has been waiting to see if Garda bumps before making a final decision on a new bid, they said.
“Allied possesses material firepower and it can opt to exercise financial elasticity to pursue this one-off opportunity to catapult to global scale,” said Josh Rosen, an analyst at United First Partners. “Where a competitive scenario persists into the new year, we see an auction process as an inevitability, in a framework which is likely to eke out the best possible price for G4S.”
Allied Universal is lining up financing after holding behind-the-scenes talks and getting access to G4S’s books, helping it calculate a higher offer based on potential synergies and the business outlook, the people said. They have a week after the Dec. 2 deadline to make a counteroffer.
G4S Chief Executive Officer Ashley Almanza said in an interview in October that the company hasn’t seen any merger proposals that make sense and will push ahead with a turnaround plan.
His counterpart at Garda, Stephan Cretier, has publicly accused management of losing “track of reality.” He has also taken aim at Allied Universal’s bid, saying it would get blocked by U.S. antitrust authorities. But Allied Universal secured that approval last month, undermining the argument.
Garda, for its part, said it’s now received both European and U.S. approval. Investors have until 1 p.m. on Dec. 16 to accept the proposal.
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