Malaysian state investor Khazanah, which has bid $835 million to double its stake in Singapore hospital operator Parkway Holdings, will extend the date for its offer later on Thursday, sources told Reuters.
"The date will be extended," said a source with knowledge of the deal. Khazanah was not immediately available to comment.
India's Fortis Healthcare and its founding family are battling Khazanah with a general offer to buy Parkway for S$3.80 a share, above Khazanah's S$3.78 a share offer.
"This isn't very surprising, as Fortis' offer makes Khazanah's partial offer look less attractive," said Lynette Tan, an analyst at DMG & Partners in Singapore.
"Khazanah may want to extend the date of its offer to give themselves more time to come up with a counter offer."
By 0330 GMT, Parkway shares were flat at S$3.87 share.
By pitching a higher offer, RHC Healthcare, 49 percent owned by Fortis and the remainder by the hospital chain's controlling billionaire Singh brothers, Fortis aims to prevent Khazanah from taking over Asia's biggest hospital group which runs 16 hospitals.
Both Fortis and Khazanah want to use Parkway, which runs hospitals in Singapore, Malaysia, India and China, to spearhead their regional expansion in the booming healthcare market.
Khazanah had originally set a July 8 deadline for shareholders to accept its partial offer which could see its stake rise to 51.5 percent.
Fortis controls Parkway with roughly 25 percent of the shares and four of 12 directors including chairman Malvinder Singh. Khazanah has just under 24 percent and two seats on the board.
One of the sources told Reuters that Khazanah is also waiting for Fortis to release offer documents to shareholders later this month before it can make a final judgment about its next move,
Deutsche Bank and CIMB is advising Khazanah and Fortis is being advised by Macquarie and RBS.