Canadian firm GardaWorld said it has bid almost £3 billion to take control of UK security giant G4S.
GardaWorld, the world’s largest privately-owned security firm, said on Monday that it is offering £2.96 billion for the London-based firm.
Shares in G4S surged in early trading after the prospective bidder confirmed the move, jumping by 22.4%.
The offer of 190p per share represents a 30% premium on the company’s closing price on Friday September 11, GardaWorld said.
G4S was last valued above 190p on February 26, before it felt the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
G4S said in an announcement to the markets later on Monday that its board unanimously rejected the offer, arguing that it “significantly undervalues” the business and its prospects.
“The board believes that the timing of the proposal is highly opportunistic, coming as it does at a time of severe turbulence in global financial markets,” the statement said.
“Furthermore the company’s financial performance following the outbreak of Covid-19 has been particularly resilient, as outlined in the company’s interim results for the six months ended June 30.”
It added that shareholders are “strongly advised to take absolutely no action” in relation to the latest approach.
The bidder said it has made three separate approaches to G4S but that the British target has “refused to engage in meaningful discussions”.
GardaWorld said that it hoped publicly announcing its offer will “put pressure” on the G4S board to come to the table for talks regarding the bid.
G4S has “failed its shareholders, employees, customers and the public for at least a decade”, but could be rescued by the takeover offer, GardaWorld said in a stinging statement.
The hostile bid comes more than a year after GardaWorld walked away from preliminary talks over a potential £3 billion offer for G4S.
Stephan Cretier, founder and chief executive officer of GardaWorld said: “G4S needs an owner, not a manager. GardaWorld has 25 years of experience in the sector and we know how to improve and repurpose this business.
“As owner-operators, we believe that the combined business’s operations will offer a better future for all those who depend on G4S.
“We will turn G4S around, ensuring it delivers for its customers, its people and the public.
“The combination of GardaWorld and G4S is an important part of our strategy to create the world’s leading security services business. If successful, our commitment to the UK will be for the long-term.”