Pune-based Deepak Fertilisers has been competing with Kolkata-based industrialist Saroj Poddar-led Zuari group for taking control of the Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd (MCFL), since July 2013.
In a filing to the BSE, Deepak Fertilisers informed that it has sold over 26 lakh shares, representing 2.2 per cent stake in MCFL, during last month through nine different open market transactions.
Post sale of 26 lakh shares, Deepak Fertilisers stake in MCFL has come down to 29.05 per cent from 31.25 per cent stake earlier. Pune based company held these shares through its subsidiary SCM Soilfert Ltd.
When contacted, company's spokesperson declined to comment on the reason behind offloading the 26 lakh shares in MCFL.
However, sources said Deepak is still in the race and all options are open. They also added that Deepak continues to remain largest shareholder in MCFL.
At present, UB group has 21.97 per cent stake and Zuari group have 16.47 per cent stake in the MCFL.
The Deepak's announcement comes a week after Zuari group revising its open offer size to 4,33,29,000 equity shares representing 36.56 per cent of the total share capital of MCFL.
Zuari had retained the price of open offer at Rs 91.92 per share.
With increase in the offer size, Zuari group would now have to spend Rs 398.2 crore from the earlier Rs 282.19 crore.
The battle for takeover of MCFL was triggered in April 2013 when Zuari group bought about 10 per cent stake in MCFL through open market.
Later, Deepak Fertilisers acquired 24.46 per cent stake in MCFL in one go in July 2013. After that, Zuari group had increased its stake to 16.43 per cent in the same month.
Deepak Fertilisers further raised its 25.31 per cent stake in MCFL in April 2014, triggering the need for launch of mandatory open offer.
Vijay Mallya-led UB group had sided with Zuari group to launch the counter open offer, which opened on October 1 and closed on October 20, to ward off the takeover bid of Deepak Fertilizers.
In that open offer, Zuari group was able to buy only 42,424 shares as its offer price was lower than Deepak's offer price of Rs 93.60 per share.
However, Deepak Fertilisers was able to raise its stake in MCFL by about 6 per cent to 31.25 per cent.