G4S Sells Israel Operation for $110 Million, Denies BDS Pressure

Security giant has been in negotiations with Israeli private equity fund FIMI since August.

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British security giant G4S has sold its Israeli operations for over $110 million, according to a Telegraph report on Friday.

After negotiations that have been ongoing at least since August, the report said that FIMI Opportunity Funds, an Israeli private equity fund, had agreed to purchase the company's Israel branch and that the deal would be fully implemented within three months.

G4S will maintain a smaller role in Israel with its stake in a police training academy alongside FIMI and Shiun and Binui, an Israeli real estate firm.

The Israeli unit, which G4S acquired in 2002 when it was a local company called Hashmira, employs some 8,000 people and has an annual turnover estimated at between 600 million and 800 million shekels.

It is the largest private security company in Israel, providing not only guards for institution and companies, but also alarm systems and security technology like metal detectors.

G4S has repeatedly been a target of political campaigns like the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, which successfully convinced the North Carolina County of Durham to drop their contracts with G4S because of the company's work in Israel.

Among its activities are operating the Ofer Prison, which holds Palestinian prisoners, and staffing West Bank checkpoints. However, the company said two years ago it would not renew those contracts. The company also doubled down on its claims that its withdrawal from Israel is unconnected to the BDS campaign, according to the Telegraph.

According to Chief Executive Ashley Almanza, the company's exit from Israel was part of a strategy to "improve our strategic focus and capital discipline."

G4S has embarked on a wider attempt to shave off some of its less profitable ventures, and is also planning on dumping its U.K. utilities business and U.S. youth services.

FIMI generally seeks to purchase companies that are technology leaders in their industries, enjoy high barriers to entry or are financially ailing and can be bought cheaply. G4S Israel offers none of these, but CEO Yishai Davidi reportedly believes that the company’s business model can be used to expand the business overseas.

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