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ABG Shipyard on Thursday said it may counter Bharati Shipyard's sweetened offer for Great Offshore, as the battle for the oil rig and offshore platform company, valued at about $440 million, intensifies, lifting shares of all three firms.

The bidding war between the shipbuilders for control of Great Offshore was kicked off early this year when Bharati made an open offer for 20 percent of Great Offshore after acquiring a near-15 percent stake.

ABG Shipyard came in with a counter offer and since then the firms have raised their offers at least once.

Late on Wednesday Bharati said it had raised its offer price for Great Offshore shares to 560 rupees, valuing the provider of oil rigs and offshore platforms at about $430 million and is almost 8 percent higher than ABG's last revised price of 520 rupees a share.

An ABG company official, declining to be identified, told Reuters on Thursday the company was prepared to raise its offer price.

Bharati bought 3.01 percent of Great Offshore from the open market on Wednesday through bulk deals on the BSE and NSE, taking its stake to 22.48 percent.

NSE data also showed Videocon Industries had sold 223,600 shares in Great Offshore at about 557 rupees a share.

Shares in Great Offshore, which rose over 3 percent to a 52-week high of 584 rupees earlier in the session, eased to trade 0.2 percent higher at 566.10 rupees at 0657 GMT.

Bharati shares rode up as much as 8.3 percent, while ABG Shipyard rose over 4 percent during the day. Bharati, whose original offer for Great Offshore was at 344 rupees, later raised it to 405 rupees a share.

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