All eyes are on how Iranian entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz and Icelandic bank Kaupthing will respond in their battle to buy casual dining chain La Tasca.
Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia chain owner Tragus Group kept the bidding war between the two parties simmering by upping its offer for the business last week.
Tragus, which already owns a third of La Tasca's share capital, on Friday (30 March) raised its offer from £96m to £99.7m, or the equivalent of 192p a share.
It was forced to make its move after Tchenguiz and Kaupthing tabled £98.6m through Tchenguiz's investment vehicle R20, despite La Tasca's board already having recommended the original 185p-a-share offer from Tragus.
The La Tasca board has again recommended that shareholders back Tragus, but as a PLC were Tchenguiz and Kaupthing to put more money on the table it would have to at least consider it in the interests of getting the best return for its shareholders.
"At the moment the revised bid is the highest, so you would expect the management to recommend it. But if Tchenguiz were to come back with a higher offer they would be duty bound to consider it," said a source close to the company.
However, an incentive for the management to stick with Tragus is the £958,000 "inducement fee", or 1% of the company's equity value, it would have to pay if it switches allegiance to Tchenguiz having recommended Tragus.
By Nic Paton
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