The $5 billion-plus bid battle for British security firm G4S will be settled by a rare head-to-head auction later this month if one of its two North American suitors hasn’t prevailed by then, Britain’s takeover regulator said on Friday. The Takeover Panel’s decision comes after Canada’s GardaWorld and U.S.-based Allied Universal both extended deadlines for their offers several times.
The panel said the bidders would have until Feb. 20 to make revised bids for G4S, and if the situation hadn’t been settled by then, the process would head to an auction. G4S, which employs more than 500,000 people around the world, in December backed a 3.8 billion pound ($5.2 billion) bid from Allied Universal, after repeatedly rejecting offers from GardaWorld. Allied’s latest offer of 245 pence per G4S share is 10 pence higher than GardaWorld’s last bid.
Both GardaWorld and Allied Universal are trying to buy a larger business which has had to restructure over the past few years following a series of setbacks. Last year, G4S sold its cash handling unit, barring a few operations including the one in the UK, to U.S. peer Brinks Co.
By Yadarisa Shabong
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