Ireland's takeover board has confirmed it is to investigate the 10.3% stake built up in hotel chain Gresham by Hong Kong businessman Balram Chanrai.
There have been suspicions that Chanrai, through his Whiterain International, is working in concert with Israeli group Red Sea Hotels, which has a 27.7% stake in the company.
Red Sea has been opposing a £73m bid from Precinct Investments, a consortium of three Irish hoteliers and property developers.
The consortium needs at least 54% of shareholders to accept its offer it wants to go ahead with its bid for the seven-strong chain.
Any deal between Whiterain and Red Sea would effectively scupper Precinct's offer.
The takeover panel emphasised that no decision had yet been taken as to whether the two were acting in concert.
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