Uk security group g4s on wednesday received a formal 3bn hostile takeover bid from canadian rival gardaworld, which said the company needed fresh management to deal with scandals, crises and lawsuits.
In an attempt to persuade investors that its 190p-a-share cash offer was a full and fair price, gardaworld said g4s was deeply troubled and likely to face a number of further legal claims and provisions that would make cash flow uncertain.
Shares of g4s jumped 4 per cent to 197.2p on the news.
In a statement, stephan crtier, chief executive of gardaworld, said: g4s is a deeply troubled business, which needs a committed owner-operator team that understands the sector and has a definitive and comprehensive plan.
Stakeholders can take no confidence in the promises of a senior management team that has been in place for seven years and has not delivered for shareholders, customers, employees or the public.
The board of g4s unanimously rejected the offer, repeating previous objections when a bid first became public.
The company said the offer significantly undervalues the group, adding that the timing during the pandemic was highly opportunistic.
The board believes the company is increasingly well-placed to deliver growth, profitability and substantial free cash flow, the company said in a statement.
The uk group has indicated it is open to a higher offer a view backed by its largest shareholder schroders, which has a 10 per cent stake.
Gardaworld, based in montreal and backed by private equity firm bc partners, has been rebuffed by the management of its bigger rival three times.
G4s has 530,000 staff and turnover of about 7.8bn versus 102,000 staff and 2.1bn in revenue at gardaworld.
Outlining the plans for the business, the canadian group said it would maintain an uk headquarters in london and honour all of its uk government contracts.
These include the management of prisons, and recent work providing security for the emergency nightingale hospitals during the covid-19 crisis.
It added it would maintain operational staff at current levels until the contracts changed.
The offer was made through the canadian groups fleming capital securities unit.
G4s has been seeking to rebuild itself after a series of crises starting with the london olympic games in 2012 when it failed to recruit enough security staff and the army had to be drafted in to compensate.
Ashley almanza took over as chief executive of the business in 2013.
But the business has also shrunk from 115 countries to 85 and the company has continued to struggle with a series of crises, including a decision by the uk government last year to strip it of a contract to manage birmingham prison seven years early, after inspectors found the jail exceptionally violent.
Despite this, g4s was recently named preferred bidder on a deal to operate a new 252m prison in wellingborough, northamptonshire.
Nandeep bamrah, vice-president of west face capital, a small shareholder in g4s, said that gardaworld had been highly acquisitive, makingnine purchases in the year to january 2020.
The valuations that gardaworld has paid for recent acquisitions implies a price above 250p for g4s shares, he said.
Stephen rawlinson, analyst at applied value, said gardaworlds criticisms were fair in many ways. it has taken the current top team too long and the transformation is not done, he added.