Time is running out for Sainsbury's to make another bid for Argos parent Home Retail Group – but the Takeover Panel has given both the supermarket and rival suitor Steinhoff a lifeline of sorts.
The two businesses have until 5pm tomorrow to make a "firm intention" of an offer or walk away from the deal. But in an update issued this morning, the executive said that if either group makes a new offer between 7:30am and 5pm, it will grant the other an automatic extension on the deadline.
Both sides have agreed to this decision, which means the bid could rumble on for many more weeks as both businesses dance around their sought-after prize.
Sainsbury's was first to the party, and currently has a £1.3bn offer on the table. It has also paved the way to make a hostile bid for Home if it chooses.
Steinhoff muddied the waters by dropping a £1.4bn bid in at the last minute.
Home Retail Group's share price was up 1.3 per cent on the news while Sainsbury's share price dropped to be 0.2 per cent down on the day, having been in the green for most of the morning.