Minister Fitzgibbon “fervently” wants GardaWorld to buy G4S

In an interview with Patrice Roy on Tuesday at ICI RDI, the Quebec Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, said he wanted ardently that GardaWorld buys the British company G4S.

I want it to happen, he added, even offering assistance from Investissement Quebec if necessary.

Basically, it would be very good for Quebec.

<Pierre Fitzgibbon, ministre québécois de l'Économie

This statement followed the request made Monday by the president and CEO of GardaWorld, Stéphane Crétier, who had asked the previous day to Prime Minister François Legault to intervene with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) to give up G4S.

Is that the CDPQ owns 35% of the shares of Allied Universal Security Services, an American firm which, too, wants to take over the British company to become number one in the world.

Indirectly, two Quebec entities therefore find themselves in competition to buy G4S.

Two purchase proposals ranging from 5 to 6 billion US dollars have been submitted in recent months by GardaWorld and Allied Universal. Both were rejected. But behind the scenes, the battle continues. And tone up.

Can Quebec do something about it?

Asked about the future of this file, Minister Fitzgibbon stressed on Tuesday that the governance rights did not allow the Caisse, with only 35% of the company’s shares, to decide on its own the strategy that should be implemented. the front by Allied Universal.

La CDPQ has no veto right on the transaction, he summed up.Crétier, today, behaves as it should. “,” Text “:” So I think that the Caisse de dépôt, unfortunately for Mr Christian, today, behaves as it should. “}}” lang = “fr”>So I think that the Caisse de dépôt, unfortunately for Mr. Crétier today, behaves as it should.

However, the Minister wondered whether the CDPQ did well to invest in Allied Universal in February 2019, knowing that the American firm was in direct competition with GardaWorld, whose head office is located in Montreal.

This is the real question, he believes. Moreover, Quebec has no authority over the Caisse de dépôt, an institution independent of political power, recalled the minister.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Legault said he had no intention of meddling in the conflict between GardaWorld and the CDPQ. <q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"Je ne pense pas que la Caisse ait le pouvoir, la légitimité de dire à Allied: “Don’t make any more offers on the English company ” “,” text “:” I don’t think the Caisse has the power, the legitimacy to say to Allied: “Don’t make any more offers on the English company “”}} “lang =” fr “>I don’t think the Caisse has the power, the legitimacy to say to Allied: “Stop bidding on the British company”, he had explained.

Garda CEO accuses CDPQ of authoritarianism

In a press release sent Tuesday afternoon, GardaWorld also denounces a formal notice sent by the CDPQ to Stéphane Crétier on Monday, just before his interview with Radio-Canada, to intimidate him cease and refrain from issuing any false statement regarding the role played by the Fund in the G4S folder.

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"Je suis surpris et déçu de constater que la Caisse de dépôt tente de m'intimider, écrit M.Crétier. She wants to muzzle me while we have a rather important debate on her actions in the context of a major transaction for GardaWorld and its 16000Quebec employees and, consequently, Quebec. “,” text “:” I am surprised and disappointed to see that the Caisse de dépôt is trying to intimidate me, writes Mr. Christian. She wants to muzzle me while we are having a rather important debate on her actions in the context of an important transaction for GardaWorld and its 16,000 Quebec employees and, consequently, Quebec. “}}” Lang = “fr”>I am surprised and disappointed to find that the Caisse de dépôt is trying to intimidate me, writes Mr. Crétier. She wants to muzzle me when we are having a rather important debate on her actions in the context of a major transaction for GardaWorld and its 16,000 Quebec employees and, consequently, Quebec.

We are no longer in 1950, we are in 2020 in a free and democratic society, he continues. The Caisse belongs to all Quebecers. If I had wanted to live in an authoritarian state, I would have bought a house in Belarus.

In her formal notice, the Head of Legal Affairs of the CDPQ, Sophie Lussier, said he was afraid that Mr. Crétier’s interview with Patrice Roy might be like a new salvo of the trial of intent that Garda has been delivering to the Caisse in the public square for several weeks.

La Caisse cannot tolerate this new attempt at intimidation which is part of the tactical maneuvers deployed by Garda as part of its takeover bid in the United Kingdom., she wrote, adding that the institution reserved all its rights and remedies for the damage suffered.

Opponents who were once partners

Long before the conflict escalates, the CDPQ had yet agreed to finance the buyout of G4S by GardaWorld through a preferred share offer of more than US $ 1 billion, according to information collected earlier this month by The Canadian Press

The Montreal-based company – founded in Quebec, but 51% owned since last year by BC Partners, a London-based investment fund – finally opted for a banking syndicate.

Would such an alliance have made it possible to avoid the current situation, where a “Quebec flagship” finds himself engaged in a merciless struggle with the “Quebecois woolen stockings”?

It wouldn’t have changed the dynamic, says Pierre Fitzgibbon. Whether or not Garda accepted the billion dollar offer is irrelevant to the other side of the deal.

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Michel Nadeau, consultant at the Institute on the governance of private and public organizations (IGOPP), completely agrees.

According to him, the CDPQ fulfilled its mandate by offering to finance the takeover of G4S by GardaWorld. But does that mean that the Caisse [ne devrait] not be present in any other security company in the world? That, I think that’s too much to ask at the Caisse, judge M. Nadeau.

The former director general ofIGOPP now expects a game of one-upmanship. Me, I think there will be new financial offers, either from Garda or from Allied, and that ultimately the price will go up, he said.

I hope with all my heart that Garda wins, as a Quebec company, but if Garda does not win, well, I can console myself as a participant in the Caisse de dépôt., concludes Mr. Nadeau, philosopher.

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