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Reuters – Advent Set to Win Control of EKO

Advent International looked set to win control of Polish retailer EKO Holding on Thursday after raising its offer for a third time, even though a rival private equity firm made a higher bid soon after, Reuters reported. EKO’s former chief executive Krzysztof Gradecki told Reuters he and his wife tendered their 55 percent stake to Advent, as previously agreed. Earlier on Thursday, Advent had raised its offer for all of the company to 272 million zlotys ($86.91 million), or 5.6 zlotys per share.

(Reuters) – Advent International looked set to win control of Polish retailer EKO Holding on Thursday after raising its offer for a third time, even though a rival private equity firm made a higher bid soon after.

EKO’s former chief executive Krzysztof Gradecki told Reuters he and his wife tendered their 55 percent stake to Advent, as previously agreed.

Earlier on Thursday, Advent had raised its offer for all of the company to 272 million zlotys ($86.91 million), or 5.6 zlotys per share.

This briefly trumped an offer from Mid Europa Partners until the rival private equity group sweetened its own bid to 309 million zlotys.

The two firms have been fighting over the Polish retailer which has more than 300 stores in western and southern Poland with expected sales of some $543 million zlotys this year.

But after Gradecki’s decision to sell to Advent, Mid Europa is left vying only for the remaining 45 percent of EKO, mainly in the hands of pension and investment funds.

Mid Europa’s latest offer is 6.35 zlotys per share for all shares tendered in the first week of its public bid starting on Oct 25. It will pay 5.85 zlotys for shares tendered during the remainder of the offer.

Its previous offer was 5.5 zlotys per share.

Mid Europa has said EKO would strengthen its position in the fragmented Polish retail market after its 400 million euro ($524.8 million) purchase of the Zabka chain of convenience stores.

EKO shares surged more than 14.5 percent. ($1 = 0.7621 euros) ($1 = 3.1298 Polish zlotys) (Reporting by Chris Borowski and Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters and Jane Merriman)