(Reuters) – Private security firm G4S <GFS.L> said on Friday that U.S. rival Allied Universal has expressed interest in making an offer for the British company, which is currently in a hostile takeover battle with Canada’s GardaWorld.
In a sign that potential consolidation in the security industry was heating up, London-listed shares in G4S jumped on the prospect of another offer on the table, rising 5.5% to 212.5 pence by 1337 GMT.
Privately-held Allied Universal Security Services, G4S’ smaller rival with operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Britain, declined to comment.
G4S, one of the world’s largest private security companies, has repeatedly rejected GardaWorld’s 190 pence per share offer valuing it at 2.97 billion pounds ($3.84 billion), calling it “unattractive and opportunistic”.
The smaller Canadian rival, majority owned by buyout firm BC Partners, this week began meeting with key G4S shareholders regarding its offer.
The security services market received a boost during the pandemic, with G4S in July posting a better-than-expected profit, flagging strong demand for thermal cameras and screening personnel as companies reopen after lockdowns.
Employing more than 500,000 employees across 90 countries, G4S has a market value of 3.12 billion pounds as of Thursday’s close. Its stock has gained 38% since GardaWorld first made its offer public on Sept. 14.
G4S has restructured its business in recent years following a series of setbacks, including failing to provide adequate security staff for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the loss of a contract to run a Birmingham prison, and a decision by Norway’s wealth fund not to invest in the firm.
In February this year, it sold most of its cash-handling business for 727 million pounds to U.S. peer Brinks Co <BCO.N>, but held on to its UK operations, which have attached pension obligations.
($1 = 0.7729 pounds)
(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Kirsten Donovan)