Two financial technology firms trying to snatch Fidessa from under the nose of Swiss rival Temenos have until the end of next to give a firm offer, the UK Takeover Panel ruled today.
The body, which polices acquisitions, said Ion and SS&C have accepted the ruling that their bids must be in by 5pm on 20 April.
That deadline will no longer apply if another firm reveals a firm intention to make a bid, the panel added.
The £1.4bn offer from Temenos was first revealed by the two firms on 21 February, with FTSE 250 financial software firm Fidessa agreeing to the deal.
London-headquartered Fidessa provides software and services for traders and investment managers such as analytics and market data.
However, Ion and SS&C both expressed their interest before the shareholder meeting to confirm the deal scheduled for 5 April, sparking a surge in shares as investors anticipated a bidding war. One of the two informal bids represented a five per cent premium to the Temenos offer, Fidessa disclosed.
Adding to the mix among the firm's shareholders is Elliott Capital, the prominent activist firm which has in the past advocated higher prices for bid targets.