(Reuters) – Private security firm G4S

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

, but held on to its UK operations, which have attached pension obligations.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong

J.C. Penney’s lenders are battling over the company’s real estate and their potential payback as the department store retailer looks for an end to its bankruptcy with the holiday shopping season looming.

Penney is close to having a solution that keeps alive the 118-year-old business and saves 70,000 jobs, but there’s no firm plan yet filed with the court.

Deadlines continue to be missed, casting doubt with the retailer’s vendors, who in some cases are holding back shipments of merchandise that Penney needs if it’s going to have a productive holiday season.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David Jones set some firm dates at a hearing on Wednesday to force everyone’s hand and calm suppliers that Penney will survive.

Debt holders led by Aurelius Capital Management plan to bid for six distribution centers and 161 Penney stores by Oct. 20 after reviewing a proposed offer from Penney’s secured lenders led by H/2 Capital Partners. Details of the H/2 offer will be filed by Oct. 16 along with Penney’s business plan, said Penney’s lawyer Josh Sussberg of Kirkland & Ellis.

The group led by H/2 would swap $900 million in debt for ownership of the real estate and the retailer would enter into a master lease to rent properties back for $156 million a year.

The Aurelius-led group said in a filing Monday that the existing offer “appears to grossly undervalue” Penney’s real estate to “deliver oversized recoveries” to secured lenders at the expense of the other stakeholders.

There’s a non-binding letter of intent from the two largest U.S. mall operators, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Group, to buy the retail operating company and keep the business going.

So far, Sussberg has presented the proposed sale of the operating company and its real estate as something that had to happen together.

By David French

NEW YORK, Oct 6 (Reuters)NextEra Energy Inc NEE.N Chief Executive James Robo joked last week he does not pursue small acquisitions because the reward is not worth the “brain damage” of getting them past regulators.

Yet his $65 billion-plus pursuit of Duke Energy Corp DUK.N will only pay off if he can overcome major regulatory hurdles in putting together the biggest ever U.S. utility deal, industry experts said.

Duke rebuffed a takeover approach from NextEra, the world’s largest producer of renewable energy from wind and sun, as inadequate, Reuters reported last Wednesday. The deal would help accelerate Duke’s transition away from coal- and gas-fired power plants.

NextEra, already the largest U.S. utility with a home base in Florida, would need approval from regulators in all six states where Duke operates: Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would also need to assent, and the Department of Justice has authority to review the deal for potential antitrust issues.

“This kind of deal would raise significant regulatory considerations,” said Jane Rueger, a partner at law firm Perkins Coie.

Florida would be the area of most regulatory concern, according to industry experts. Of the 8.1 million customers served by privately owned electric utilities in 2019, 7.3 million got their power from Duke or NextEra units Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power, according to the Florida Public Service Commission.

Utilities typically pledge to sell assets or build extra transmission lines to assuage anti-monopoly concerns. Duke Energy made such concessions to regulators in the Carolinas and Florida when it bought Progress Energy for $13.7 billion in 2012.

NextEra, however, would have to give up significant business in Florida and risk upsetting its relationship with regulators ahead of negotiations on new caps

Arsenal’s dinosaur mascot Gunnersaurus has been axed as part of cost-cutting measures in the club.

Jerry Quy, who has played the mascot since its introduction in 1993, worked part-time for the club and was seen as an unnecessary cost with no fans in stadiums.

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Quy has also lost his other role at the club doing supporter liaison, especially for away fans, and will not return to it when fans come back. However, sources have told ESPN that he will be allowed to return to the role of mascot when fans return to games.

Arsenal announced in August that they would make 55 redundancies across all departments. While Quy’s departure is part of ongoing cost-saving measures, the loss of his job is not counted in these 55 redundancies as he worked part-time.

Arsenal’s self-sustainable business model relies heavily on matchday income from Emirates Stadium and the ongoing absence of supporters — in addition to the cancellation of concerts and other non-football events — has hit the club particularly hard despite owner Stan Kroenke’s net worth estimated to be $8.3 billion.

Arsenal became the first Premier League team to agree a pay cut with their first-team squad — 12.5% over 12 months, although that was reduced by 7.5% after the Gunners qualified for the Europa League by winning the FA Cup.

The club also terminated the contracts of around 10 members of their scouting network at the end of May, many of whom worked on identifying youth team and academy players.

Source Article

(Bloomberg) — Suez SA backed a potential takeover bid led by private equity firm Ardian SAS, seeking to give investors an alternative as it fights an acquisition from French rival Veolia Environnement SA.



a street filled with traffic at night: An illuminated logo sits on top of the Veolia Environnement SA headquarters at night in Paris, France, on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Engie SA got five more days to consider Veolia Environnement SA’s 3.4 billion-euro bid ($4 billion) for most of its stake in Suez SA, prolonging a corporate fight in the hope of making it less hostile.


© Bloomberg
An illuminated logo sits on top of the Veolia Environnement SA headquarters at night in Paris, France, on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Engie SA got five more days to consider Veolia Environnement SA’s 3.4 billion-euro bid ($4 billion) for most of its stake in Suez SA, prolonging a corporate fight in the hope of making it less hostile.

Ardian’s project, which has has yet be detailed, is “in the interest of Suez — its shareholders, its employees, its clients and all its stakeholders,” the water and waste-treatment company said in a statement on Sunday after the board reviewed the plan. The Ardian proposal is “built around growth,” and would allow for an employees’ shareholding to double, it added.

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Suez said earlier Sunday it still considers Veolia’s approach to be hostile, adding further tension to a multi-stranded saga that’s drawn in the French government, and damping hopes that recent discussions could pave the way for a friendly tie-up between the two French giants.

Veolia’s offer to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez from French energy utility Engie SA for 3.4 billion ($4 billion) is seen as a prelude to a takeover of the whole company. The bid is set to expire Monday, putting pressure on Engie and Suez, which has also expressed concern about the risk of “creeping control” from Veolia.

The government, which holds 24% of Engie, has said a deal must not be hurried. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters Sunday that an agreement between Suez and Veolia is still possible.

“The government calls on both parties to resume talks