US private equity firm Apollo Management came a step closer to winning its bid for estate agency Countrywide after its largest shareholders backed its revised offer. Daily Telegraph

Private equity firm initially 3i tried to buy Countrywide for £960m but shareholders rejected the offer. Apollo then submitted a bid that valued Countrywide at 590p a share, but was forced to raise it to 617p a share after the estate agency received an eleventh-hour competing bid from a unidentified third party, believed to be 3i.

The higher Apollo bid was approved by the board and shareholders and was due to receive court approval yesterday. However, once again, the third party submitted a last-minute offer.

Yesterday Apollo yesterday revised its offer again. Although the price per share is said to be lower than that of its rival, it is offering a greater proportion of equity to Countrywide’s existing shareholders.