Foster's Group is considering upping its bid for Southcorp prior to extending its offer once again. Citing analysts, Reuters said today (15 April) that the drinks giant would probably not stretch its bid as far as the A$4.57 to A$4.80 per share valuation range suggested in a report commissioned by Southcorp. Foster's current offer of A$4.14 per share values the company at A$2.5bn (US$1.9bn).

"I would not be surprised if they raised the price a little bit and tried to get an agreement," Shaw Stockbroking analyst Scott Marshall told Reuters. "It's a matter of who blinks first."

"My gut feeling is that they will have to marginally increase it," David Spry, an analyst at F.W. Holst & Co., also told the news agency.

Another analyst believes, however, that the deal will fall through as the two cannot agree a mutually acceptable price. "The only logical outcome that we see happening, with respect to the current impasse between Foster's and Southcorp, is Foster's walking away from its current bid," Merrill Lynch analyst David Errington told Reuters.

Having extended its offer three times already, Foster's is expected to issue another extension to its latest 28 April deadline. "I think it is highly likely they will extend, especially given the way the market is behaving at the moment, which is playing into their hands," Argo Investments managing director Rob Patterson told Reuters. "The longer they keep it (the offer) there, if the market is going to be weaker, the more chance they have got of success."