Egypt's financial regulator on Thursday extended the offer period for UAE's Abraaj Investment Management for Egyptian cake and biscuit maker Bisco Misr to December 24 to match the period of rival bidder Kellogg Co.
Kellogg, the world's biggest breakfast cereal maker, has twice topped Abraaj's bids. Kellogg is now offering 82.2 Egyptian pounds ($11.50) per share compared with Abraaj's bid of 80.58 pounds ($11.27).
The bidding war is part of a flurry of mergers and rights issues on the Cairo bourse, an exchange which has struggled to revive investor confidence during the political and economic turmoil that followed popular uprisings in 2011.
Egypt's government this year launched a raft of reforms aimed at luring back foreign investors and shoring up growth while cutting a ballooning deficit.
The competing offers from Kellogg and Abraaj are the latest sign foreign investors are returning to the market.
Food is seen as a fast-growing sector in the most populous Arab nation of 87 million people and Bisco Misr is a well-known brand with three baking facilities in Cairo and Alexandria.
Abraaj, which has about $7.5 billion of assets under management, typically invests in high-growth sectors in emerging markets.
While shareholders with 56 percent of Bisco Misr agreed to sell to Abraaj, Kellogg's bids have forced the private equity firm to return with higher offers and then a request to extend its bidding period which would otherwise have ended on December 17.
Abraaj declined to comment on the decision, and officials from Kellogg were not immediately available to comment.