Speculation is mounting that after Akzo Nobel's £7.2bn offer for ICI, any one of a number of bidders – including BASF, DuPont, Dow Chemical, and private equity – will come in to try and trump the Dutch paint giant.
It is now widely thought Akzo Nobel will raise its cash takeover bid - rejected by ICI on the grounds that it 'significantly undervalues' the company.
Akzo Nobel has already expressed an interest in ICI, and believes the company would be a highly attractive addition to its coatings and chemicals division.
Analysts have noted that the Dutch company's cash reserves of £6bn means it has plenty of options for another approach particularly after selling its biosciences division for £7.3bn in March.
ICI meanwhile has said it is continuing with the day-to-day running of the business, and overall is 'very confident in the group's strategy and strong growth prospects'.