G4S says it has agreed a takeover offer from a smaller US rival following a bidding war.
The London-listed security group, which has 530,000 staff, said it had agreed a 245p-per-share offer from Allied Universal having previously rejected a “highly conditional” earlier bid of 210p.
Another player, which had earlier appealed for support directly from shareholders in a hostile move, had been Canada’s GardaWorld.
It had criticised the company’s performance and pledged to “re-purpose” the business if it won the day. It was yet to concede defeat and later confirmed it had withdrawn a pledge not to raise its offer further as it considered its options.
GardaWorld’s latest bid – which was formally rejected – had valued G4S at just shy of £3.7bn.
Its renewed interest in G4S late in the summer was widely seen as a reflection of the fact that London stocks had yet to recover pre-virus crisis values.
Merger and acquisition statistics released earlier on Tuesday suggested activity was beginning to return – with UK firms set to come under growing bid pressure in the months ahead.
G4S said it considered the terms of Allied’s latest offer to be fair and reasonable and that it intended to unanimously recommend that shareholders accept it.
The price represented a premium of approximately 68% to the closing price of 146p on 11 September – the start of the offer period, the company said.
It brings together two global security operators which will have a combined workforce of 750,000 people.
Its statement read: “The combination of Allied Universal and G4S will create a world-leading integrated security business with revenues of approximately US$18bn, a strong international platform and an extensive portfolio of blue-chip clients across the public and private sectors.
“Bringing together Allied Universal’s and G4S’s cutting-edge smart technology solutions and manned guarding businesses will create an enlarged group that is able to lead the industry shift towards integrated security services and provide a global one-stop shop for customers.”