GREENCORE'S chances of beating businessman Ranjit Boparan in the battle for Northern Foods were receding yesterday after the chicken tycoon added another 5pc to his stake in the British company.
Mr Boparan, who had a bid of 73p a share for Northern accepted by the company's board on Friday, increased his holding in the firm to 11.4pc yesterday.
He is expected to continue accumulating shares in the run-up to Northern Foods' shareholders voting on his bid.
He needs a 29pc share in the company to be able to block a possible offer from Greencore.
The news coincided with a noticeably cooler attitude among analysts to a possible renewed effort from the Irish company for Northern.
One market watcher claimed the longer Greencore waits to make a new offer, the less chance there is it will happen.
"The basic problem for Greencore when it comes to making a new, cash-rich offer, is that it doesn't look like they have the cash to do it without running some fundraising.
"That would likely happen through a rights issue which would dilute the share price and would be unlikely to be supported by shareholders."