G4S is the worlds largest security and cleaning services group.

In October 2011 it proposed to buy its largest global competitor, ISS, but in November 2011 it cancelled the plan as a result of opposition from shareholders.

In 2004, G4S was formed through the merger of Group 4 Falck and UK based Securicor, both global security companies.  In May 2004, the UK facilities management division of Group 4 Falck, Global Solutions Ltd, was sold to Englefield Capital, in partnership with Cognetas LLP and Electra Partners Europe.  Global Solutions Ltd (GSL), was a leading provider of outsourced services to public authorities and operators within the growing PFI and PPP outsourcing market, in the UK and internationally (Englefield Capital, 2008).  By 2004, GSL had contracts with the public sector in custodial services, covering prison management, escorting of prisoners, immigration services, custody and training; and other public services in health care, education and local government.  The company has continued to expand into the public sector.

In July 2008, G4S bought GSL from Englefield Capital / Europa Electra Partners.  G4S now provides “medical service solutions for the public and private sector” in the UK and emergency ambulance services and ‘specialist guarding to secure hospitals’ in Australia (G4S, 2007).   This acquisition supports the G4S 2004-2007 corporate strategy, in which G4S aimed to expand further into the UK, USA, Benelux countries and Scandinavia (G4S, 2004).  In the 2008 G4S strategy (for Asia-Pacific), priority sectors were listed as health, local government, ports/airports as well as Benelux becoming a priority country for expansion (G4S, 2008).

Table 6: Geographical distribution of G4S employees







North America

53, 414


New markets



Not allocated ( head office)



There are historical links between G4S and Falck, which are important in understanding the current relationship between these two companies.  Both are still significant providers of security services, although Falck has a wider range of health care services.  Since the acquisition of GSL, in 2008, G4S has also expanded its health care activities.


Table 7:   Falck and G4S - changes in ownership between 1988-2009



Group 4 Group /  Securitas/ Securicor


1988 Falck family sold Falck to Baltica, a Danish insurance company



1981 Jørgen Philip-Sørensen took responsibility for the European activities in the Group 4 Group

Securicor – UK based part of company

His brother, Sven Philip-Sørensen, carried on the Swedish activities (Securitas AB) 



1989 Securicor established a custodial services division


Baltica sold 55% of its shares in Falck

Group 4 won the contract to run the first UK privatised prison HMP Wolds


Falck acquired Danish company ISS Securitas to form Falck Securitas



Group 4 Securitas (International) B.V. and Falck A/S merged to form Group 4 Falck

UK based Securicor continued global expansion as separate company


Group 4 Falck acquired several security businesses in Europe


Group 4 Falck A/S bought Wackenhut Corporation

Group 4 Falck sets up a rescue and safety operation in a new division




After Group 4 Falck merged with UK based Securicor, Falck was then separated from Group 4 and was listed independently on the Copenhagen Stock exchange.



Group 4 Falck merged with UK based Securicor

Group 4 Falck's UK Facilities Management Division sold to Englefield Capital/ Europe Electra Partners  and renamed Global Solutions Ltd (GSL)

Rebranded as G4S


Falck bought by Nordic Capital and delisted from the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

GSL expansion


Expansion into Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Slovakia, Brazil, Trinidad/Tobago, and Spain



GSL sold to G4S




Source: G4S Annual Report, Falck Annual Report, http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=337