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Montreal-based security company GardaWorld makes bid to buy G4S

A GardaWorld armoured truck in traffic, Richmond, B.C. on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Bayne Stanley/The Canadian Press

GardaWorld, the world’s largest privately owned security company, said Monday it was making a 3 billion-pound ($3.9 billion) offer for G4S, saying its London-based rival has rejected or ignored three previous approaches.

Montreal-based GardaWorld says it decided to publicize its bid of 190 pence a share — a 30 per cent premium to G4S’s closing price on Friday — to pressure the firm into talks.

GardaWorld says the company’s expertise will help turn around G4S, which has failed to deliver “for shareholders, customers, employees or the public.” G4S shares jumped 24% to 180.88 pence in London trading. The stock is still down 46% from its peak in June 2017.

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“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,” Stephan Cretier, founder and chief executive officer of GardaWorld, said in a statement. “As owner-operators, we believe that the combined business’s operations will offer a better future for all those who depend on G4S.”

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London-based G4S responded by saying the bid “significantly undervalues the company and its prospects.”

“Shareholders are strongly advised to take absolutely no action in relation to the new proposal,” the company said.

G4S, which employs more than 500,000 people in 85 countries, said its financial performance has been “particularly resilient” since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company in July posted underlying first-half earnings of 97 million pounds, the same as for the year-earlier period. Revenue fell 1.5% to 3.35 billion pounds.

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