G4ss chief executive has indicated that the global security company is open to higher offers even as it seeks to defend itself against a 3bn hostile bid from a smaller canadian rival.
In an interview almost three weeks after it received a 190p-a-share indicative offer from gardaworld and just four days after the board met to reject the latest approach, g4s boss ashley almanza said the board would consider any credible proposal. all of the directors are clear we will do what is in the best interest of shareholders and stakeholders.
The comments came as schroders, g4ss largest shareholder, said it was open to a deal at a higher price.
Sue noffke, head of uk equities at schroders, said: as a holder of 10 per cent of g4s shares, schroders believes the bid from gardaworld backed by buyout group bc partners materially undervalues the company and its prospects.
However, we are open to a deal at a fair price for g4s shareholders that more accurately reflects peer multiples, synergies and other strategic benefits that an acquirer will gain from.
Harris associates, which owns about 9 per cent of the shares, has also said it values the company at significantly higher than the 190p-a-share offer especially given the operational improvements made over the past few years.
G4shas called the bid highly opportunistic. it believes it undervalues the business, which with 7.7bn in revenues is the worlds biggest security company. under takeover rules, gardaworld has 28 days from last monday to table a formal offer.
Gardaworld said: shareholders have had a lot of jam tomorrow from the current management and board. we offer jam today and a plan to make g4s deliver for its customers, employees and the general public.
Ftse 250-listed g4s has offices in 85 countries providing everything from the management of prisons to security for 40 american embassies and the us pentagon. its clients range from floridas hard rock stadium to gasfields in iraq and work for the uk government securing the recent covid-19 emergency nightingale hospitals.
Its smaller montreal-based rival gardaworld has made three unsolicited approaches forg4ssince june 26, following an aborted move last year. a merger with gardaworld, which bc partners valued at c$5.2bn when it bought its 51 per cent stake last year, would create a global security giant.
In an interview with the financial times, mr almanza defended himself against criticisms of his performance from gardaworld and bc partners. they have accused him of presiding over a collapse in the share price of more than a third since he joined six and a half years ago, as well as a catastrophic loss of faith and reputation.
Mr almanza counters that g4s has paid more than 1bn in dividends since he joined and reduced leverage from 3.5 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to 2.5 times.
He has also refocused the business on risk consultancy, security guarding and technology, slashing the number of companies in the group from 850 in 2013 to 400.just six months ago, he disposed of g4ss business transporting cash in armoured vans, and he believes the group is poised for growth.
Should any deal go ahead, however, mr almanza stands to cash in on 6.3m shares as well as long-term incentive plans for this year, meaning, if all shares vested, he could be in line for a 15m pay-off.