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UPDATE 2-Second potential G4S suitor swoops in amid GardaWorld's hostile bid

Fri, 9th Oct 2020 13:53

(Updates shares, adds background, response from Allied
Universal)

By Yadarisa Shabong

Oct 9 (Reuters) - Private security firm G4S said on
Friday that U.S. rival Allied Universal has expressed interest
in making an offer for the British company, which is currently
in a hostile takeover battle with Canada's GardaWorld.

In a sign that potential consolidation in the security
industry was heating up, London-listed shares in G4S jumped on
the prospect of another offer on the table, rising 5.5% to 212.5
pence by 1337 GMT.

Privately-held Allied Universal Security Services, G4S'
smaller rival with operations in the United States, Canada,
Mexico and Britain, declined to comment.

G4S, one of the world's largest private security companies,
has repeatedly rejected GardaWorld's 190 pence per share offer
valuing it at 2.97 billion pounds ($3.84 billion), calling it
"unattractive and opportunistic".

The smaller Canadian rival, majority owned by buyout firm BC
Partners, this week began meeting with key G4S shareholders
regarding its offer.

The security services market received a boost during the
pandemic, with G4S in July posting a better-than-expected
profit, flagging strong demand for thermal cameras and screening
personnel as companies reopen after lockdowns.

Employing more than 500,000 employees across 90 countries,
G4S has a market value of 3.12 billion pounds as of Thursday's
close. Its stock has gained 38% since GardaWorld first made its
offer public on Sept. 14.

G4S has restructured its business in recent years following
a series of setbacks, including failing to provide adequate
security staff for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the loss of
a contract to run a Birmingham prison, and a decision by
Norway's wealth fund not to invest in the firm.

In February this year, it sold most of its cash-handling
business for 727 million pounds to U.S. peer Brinks Co,
but held on to its UK operations, which have attached pension
obligations.

($1 = 0.7729 pounds)
(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by
Shailesh Kuber, Kirsten Donovan)

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