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The last few months have brought a furious, and at times comic, set of bids and counterbids, including the odd situation in which each side was bidding roughly the same amount for the other.
The market appears to expect counterbids to be made.
Wal-Mart has a track record of counterbids when it bought Asda under the nose of Kingfisher in 1999, which an analyst added was "20 times its earnings while Morrisons has bought Safeway at only 11 times its earnings".
The board's surprise decision follows weeks of acrimonious bids and counterbids from Punch and Whitbread as they struggled for the control of Allied's 3,600 pubs and restaurants.
The stadium project has dominated local news in recent weeks, generating vigorous public debate and attracting controversial counterbids from organizations including Cablevision and TransGas Energy Systems, a power-plant developer.
Bankers have said several banks are talking to each other about possible breakup counterbids for ABN - seen by some to generate more value for shareholders.
Third, the Alcan offer could spark off counterbids from the likes of Anglo American and Norway's Norsk Hydro.
Rival offers must be lodged by next Thursday, giving Warner a week to make up its mind on whether or not to put forward a counterbid.