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The Blackstone counterbid could set the stage for a long buyout process in which offers are examined and debated.
The counterbid shifts the antitrust focus to whether one entity should have a lock on capital-raising in the US.
Market analysts played down the prospect of Hershey and Ferrero - best known for Ferrero Rocher chocolates - joining forces to counterbid for Cadbury.
Schaeffler, whose bearings can be found in everything from the London Eye ferris wheel to the US space shuttle, outmaneouvered Continental at the outset by secretly securing indirect access to a third of its stock that succeeded in scaring away any potential rivals for a white knight counterbid.
8bn [pounds sterling] deal on 31 March, though there is still time for a counterbid to come in.
The market is on tenterhooks waiting for any news of a possible counterbid from rival and major stakeholder Pearl, which has been ominously building up a near 16% holding while voicing its opposition to the planned tie-up.
RHM chairman Jan du Plessis said he did not expect a counterbid from a rival.
But Mark Hughes is preparing a counterbid for Blackburn, with Fulham boss Chris Coleman and Pompey supremo Harry Redknapp also in the race.
Rumours flourished that a rival bid might be made for HCA, but with the family of Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, playing a big part in the consortium (his father and brother founded HCA) the success of a counterbid seemed doubtful.
However, Ziemba (1995) reported that Robert Crandall, chair and CEO of American, indicated that American would have no alternative but to counterbid for USAir if United placed a bid.
In Europe, the boost received yesterday by O2 was given back as Deutsche Telekom confirmed that it will not launch a counterbid for O2.