GardaWorld, Allied Universal's battle for G4S could be settled by auction
The battle for London-listed security services firm G4S could be settled via auction if GardaWorld and Allied Universal do not make revised bids by 20 February.
The board of G4S has recommended that shareholders back a 245p-a-share bid from US-based Allied Universal. Meanwhile, GardaWorld’s latest offer, sweetened to 235p-a-share from 190p previously, remains on the table.
If the companies do not make revised bids by next Saturday, an auction process will be kicked off during which Canada’s GardaWorld and Allied Universal will submit sealed bids over the course of the week of 22 February.
The UK Takeover Panel said in a statement that given that neither suitor has declared its offer final, such that either offer may be increased or otherwise revised, an auction procedure will be carried out in order "to provide an orderly framework for the resolution of this competitive situation".
G4S, GardaWorld and Allied Universal have all greed to the terms of the auction, the Takeover Panel said.
The battle for G4S began in September last year, when GardaWorld made an initial offer valuing the company at nearly £3bn. Two months later, GardaWorld lifted its offer to just under £3.7bn and cut the acceptance rate needed from shareholders to 50% plus one vote, from 90%.
Allied Universal entered the race a week later with a £3.8bn bid requiring 90% acceptance.
Both offers have been extended several times already.
At 1635 GMT, G4S shares were up 0.9% at 266.80p.