An American security company of which the Caisse de dépôt et placement is a major shareholder wants to beat the pawn to the Montreal firm Garda World in its plan to acquire the British giant G4S.
Garda has made an unsolicited bid of nearly three billion pounds (C $ 5 billion) to acquire G4S, which has 533,000 employees in 85 countries.
“G4S is a company in serious difficulty and needs a committed team led by an operator-owner,” Garda CEO Stéphan Crétier said when unveiling his official proposal at the end of September.
G4S sharply rejected Garda’s hostile offer, calling it “opportunistic” and “unattractive”.
Mr. Crétier reacted to this refusal with virulence.
G4S “needs a new owner, not a change of management to save appearances or a reshuffle of the board of directors,” he said in a message sent to shareholders of the British company .
Last week, G4S announced that the American firm Allied Universal had formulated an “expression of interest” with a view to making a “possible offer” for the purchase of the London company.
However, the Caisse is the largest shareholder of Allied Universal since last year after having injected more than $ 1.5 billion. The institution holds a 41.5% stake in the company. Allied is one of the Caisse’s largest private placements.
The Caisse doubled by banks
Before Allied took an interest in the matter, the Fund offered Garda a loan of “several hundred million dollars” to help it close the financing of its offer for G4S, learned The newspaper.
Garda, however, refused the Caisse’s proposal, preferring a financing offer submitted by large commercial banks, considered more interesting.
“We received an exceptional offer from another player backed by three major Canadian banks. This is the option that we chose, ”explained yesterday to Newspaper a spokesperson for Garda, Isabelle Panelli.
The offer comes from a syndicate of Barclays, Bank of America, UBS, Scotiabank, Royal Bank and TD Bank.
The Caisse declined to comment on the matter.
Note that the Caisse was a lender to Garda from 2015 to 2019. Last year, the Caisse presented the value of its loan to Garda in the range of $ 150 to $ 300 million in its annual report.
Since last year, the British investment firm BC Partners owns 51% of Garda. Stéphan Crétier holds a 43% stake in the company.
As the Caisse has investments in hundreds of companies around the world, it is not uncommon for it to be found on both sides in certain transactions.
The Caisse was particularly controversial when it awarded, in 2018, the contract to build the Metropolitan Express Network (REM) cars to an Indian factory of the French multinational Alstom. The institution nevertheless holds a third of the shares of Bombardier Transport, which also wanted to win the order.
The forces involved
- Company value (2019): CA $ 5.2 billion
- Employees: 102,000
- Company value (2019): US $ 7 billion
- Employees: 235,000
- Market value (October 2020): CA $ 5.5 billion
- Employees: 533,000