Battle between Garda and Caisse over bids for G4S gets nasty with legal threat

GardaWorld company headquarters is seen Wednesday, December 18, 2013 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

A battle between Garda World and Quebec's largest pension fund manager over each group's efforts to acquire the world's leading security firm has escalated with the filing of a legal threat.

Garda World's founder and CEO, Stephane Cretier, says he received a formal legal notice from the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec a day after he was interviewed by Radio-Canada.

In a news release, the businessman denounced intimidation from the large financial institution, saying the Caisse belongs to all Quebecers.

He added that if he wanted to live in an authoritarian country, he would have bought a house in Belarus.

The dispute revolves around the British giant G4S, which is at least five times larger than Garda World.

At the end of October, the Quebec company formalized its $5.2-billion hostile offer.

Soon after, Allied Universal Security Services, of which the Caisse is the second-largest shareholder with a stake of around 35 per cent, put in a bid valued at around $5.7 billion.

Cretier called for the intervention of Premier Francois Legault, something he said he wouldn't do.

Sophie Lussier, head of legal affairs at the Caisse said it won't tolerate intimidation by Garda and reserved "all rights and remedies for the damage suffered as a result of false words made by Garda and its representatives in the public square."

The Caisse said it first asked Garda to stop its public attacks on Nov. 9.

"The Caisse makes public statements based on facts," said spokesman Maxime Chagnon in a statement Tuesday.

"We expect the same from all the companies we do business with and if we have to intervene, it is to remind them of their obligations to stick to the facts."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2020.

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