Tesco last night moved to see off a threat from Sir Tom Hunter, who has been building a stake in Dobbies Garden Centres, by lowering the acceptance level for its bid for the company. The Times. Financial Times. Daily Telegraph. The Independent. The Guardian

The supermarket group said that it would now require only 50% of Dobbies investors to accept its £155.6m bid for the chain, instead of the 75% it had specified previously. The 50% would give Tesco management control of Dobbies.

The announcement came just hours after Hunter dealt a near-fatal blow to Tesco’s bid when he spent nearly £10m in three successive share raids to take his stake to 25.6%, scuppering Tesco’s chances of getting 75% acceptance.

Hunter's West Coast Capital vehicle bought shares at a maximum price of £18.45 a share. Tesco agreed to buy Dobbies on 8 June for £15 a share, valuing the garden centre group at £155.6m.