The bidding war over Warrington hotels group De Vere looked to be over last night after Malmaison and Hotel du Vin boss Richard Balfour-Lynn saw off his main competitor with an improved bid.
Yesterday morning, Mr Balfour-Lynn's privately owned investment firm Alternative Hotels Group (AHG) upped its offer for De Vere for the second time to pounds 767.4m.
De Vere originally accepted AHG's 825p-a-share takeover offer last month but after rival bidder private equity group Permira indicated it might come in with an improved offer AHG increased its offer to 850p a share.
This still didn't put off Permira but yesterday's 875p a share offer from AHG finally saw off its rival. The final offer added pounds 43.9m to the original bid.
Permira said last night: "After considering its options, Permira has decided that it does not intend to make a formal offer for De Vere."
Permira had said it was prepared to bid up to 840p a share for De Vere but the board is understood to have dismissed the indicative offer as too conditional.
Marylebone Warwick Balfour owns the five-star Park Lane Marriott hotel, as well as its 15 Malmaison and Hotel du Vin sites around the UK. It also operates the Liberty department store in London's Regent Street.
Mr Balfour-Lynn was among the investors involved in the pounds 325m takeover of Rentokil Initial's conference venues.
De Vere also has a string of Village leisure hotels, the health and fitness brand Greens, and the gin maker G&J Greenall.
The company is 11% owned by Steve Morgan, the multi-millionaire founder of housebuilder Redrow and recently made an attempt to buy Liverpool Football Club.
Earlier this year De Vere said profits from continuing operations fell by 0.5% to pounds 19.5m in the six months to March 26 due to rising costs.
Pre-tax profits dropped to pounds 13. 6m from pounds 76.4m, while around pounds 10m was sliced from turnover from the De Vere hotels reflecting the sale of The Belfry, in the West Midlands, in March last year.