Punch Taverns' efforts to buy Allied Domecq's 3,500 managed pubs with an increased bid were once again dampened this week after Allied reconfirmed its preference for rival bidder Whitbread.
Allied said on Tuesday that it was recommending Whitbread's revised offer to its shareholders. The revised deal of £2.88b includes 135 million shares, £25m assumed debt and £1.5b in cash.
Punch has also raised its offer of cash with an option for Bass shares to £2.93b. Allied argues that Punch's deal is worth £2.86b. It has also told shareholders that the Whitbread deal could be completed by August while a deal with Punch would have to wait until October for legal reasons.
Shareholders are expected to be given a rescheduled date to vote within the next two weeks.