Higher bid for William Baird in doubt.
Rival Jacques Vert first proposed the deal with William Baird, which valued the group at pounds 17.9m, in October.
The board rejected the offer claiming it undervalued the group, and the two entered talks about a possible improved bid.
But yesterday Jacques Vert said it had received acceptances for its original offer representing 51.82% of the share capital. Jacques Vert must secure approval from 90% of shareholders before it is able to go ahead with the deal. A spokesman said the level of acceptances showed the majority of shareholders were backing Jacques Ve r t Chairman Bill Reid said, ``We are continuing our discussions with the board of William Baird concerning a possible improved offer which the William Baird directors may be able to recommend.
``If an improved offer is made, all William Baird shareholders who ac-cept the current offer will be entitled to receive the improved consideration.''
The offer has been extended and will remain open for acceptances until November 22.
William Baird chairman Lord Wolfson of Sunningdale said, ``Our discussions with Jacques Vert are continuing and this may lead to an improved offer. Therefore, we strongly advise shareholders to take no action at this time.''
London-based Jacques Vert sells through a chain of 168 outlets and employs around 400 people.