The Business On: Nick Buckles, Chief Executive, G4S

 

Buckled down?

Not yet, but Nick Buckles's bold bid to splurge £5.2bn on taking over ISS, the Danish support-services group, is very much in the balance. The dissenters – including Schroders and the Co-op – are worried the deal, funded by a deeply discounted £2bn rights issue, is too pricey and too risky. Mr Buckles and his colleagues were yesterday doing a mad dash around the City to try to win over waverers. They need 75 per cent to vote in favour tomorrow.

 

What's worrying them?

The fact that mega-deals such as this usually burn money, rather than make it. But Mr Buckles says the sort of people who buy security services from G4S want to deal with companies that can do a lot more – such as providing cleaning or catering or facilities management.

 

So no one will profit?

Well, presumably his remuneration committee will decide that Mr Buckles should get a big pay rise for pulling off the deal. He got £1.4m last year, with £1.54m of shares (which vest in 2013).

 

But won't he be the world's biggest boss?

Well, something like it, with more than one million employees (before the inevitable job cuts). If you're worried that many staff will require a massive bureaucracy, and probably one that doesn't move all that quickly, you're probably right.

 

Isn't that what investors are really worried about?

Could be. But you never know. There's still time for Mr Buckles, who has been in the security industry for 26 years, to convince shareholders otherwise.

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