The pub group behind Hungry Horse and Loch Fyne restaurants wants to gobble up smaller rival Spirit Pub Co in a £700m deal.
It emerged yesterday that brewer and pub group Greene King offered 100p a share earlier this month but Spirit rejected the offer, claiming it undervalues the business.
Greene King now has until 21 October to announce a firm intention to make an offer or walk away.
Spirit said the 100p a share offer “undervalued Spirit and its attractive prospects” and said the board “remains fully confident in the ongoing execution of Spirit’s strategy as an independent company”.
The pub sector has long been under pressure to focus on food-led pubs as many of the so-called wet-led pubs have been struggling.
Spirit shares soared nearly 18 per cent to 88.75p. Greene King ticked up 0.5p to 794p.