September 7, 2012 / 5:18 PM / 5 years ago

Garda Security to be taken private for C$390 million

TORONTO (Reuters) - Garda World Security Corp GW.TO, Canada’s biggest security and cash-handling firm, said on Friday a consortium formed by Chief Executive Stephan Cretier has offered to buy the company for roughly C$390 million ($399 million) in cash.

The consortium will buy each share of Garda for C$12.00, representing a premium of 30 percent on Garda’s closing share price of C$9.20 on Thursday. Including the assumption of debt, the deal is worth about C$1.1 billion, the company said on Friday.

Shares of Garda, which were halted early on Friday, rose 29 percent to C$11.90 after trading resumed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The buyout, backed by private equity firm Apax Partners, was unanimously approved by Garda’s board of directors, and the deal is expected to close later this year. The transaction requires the backing of two-thirds of the company’s shareholders.

Cretier, who founded Garda in 1995 with an investment of C$25,000, is still the firm’s largest shareholder, controlling about 24 percent of the company’s shares. He has agreed to vote his shares in favor of the deal at a shareholder meeting that will be held in October.

“Garda is a great Canadian success story and we intend to expand on that achievement,” Cretier said in a statement. “To achieve this goal, we intend to continue to pursue our growth strategy both organically and through acquisitions, which we can more efficiently accomplish as a private company.”

“The investment by Apax is a ‘win-win’ opportunity for everyone involved,” he said. “It provides Garda shareholders with a significant all-cash premium for their shares, while assuring a superior and sustained service for our clients.”

The company also announced a 29 percent increase in its second-quarter profit on Friday, driven by gains in both its security and cash-handling businesses.

Montreal-based Garda said quarterly net profit rose to C$4.9 million from C$3.8 million a year earlier. Gross profit rose to C$80.5 million from C$67 million.

Quarterly revenue rose 13.7 percent to C$337 million.

($1=$0.977 Canadian)

Reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Frank McGurty; and Peter Galloway

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