Malmaison and Hotel du Vin boss Richard Balfour-Lynn last night looked to have won the race for control of De Vere after a rival suitor pulled out of the running.
Mr Balfour-Lynn delivered a knock-out blow on private equity group Permira after increasing his offer for the hotels group to #767.4 million.
The entrepreneur, who is chief executive of hotels and property group Marylebone Warwick Balfour and launched his bid through privately owned investment firm Alternative Hotels Group, added a total of #43.9 million to his original offer price as he twice increased the price tag in a bid to fend off Permira.
The private equity firm said yesterday: "After considering its options, Permira has decided that it does not intend to make a formal offer for De Vere."
De Vere first gave its backing to a 825p-a-share takeover offer from AHG last month and continued to back the proposed deal as the offer increased to 850p-a-share and 875p-a-share.
Following the two earlier offers Permira insisted it was considering a counter-bid but yesterday's offer by AHG prompted it to pull out.
AHG said it had also built up a stake in De Vere, which runs hotels under its own name as well as Greens gyms and Village fitness clubs, of about 28.4 per cent.
AHG Venice plans to link De Vere to a business conferences and training business it bought from Rentokil Initial last year.
It said funding for the deal would be provided by Bank of Scotland and that De Vere had agreed to pay it #7.67 million if it completed an alternative deal.
AHG Venice is being advised by Rothschild, while UBS is acting for De Vere, whose share price closesd down 3p at 862.5.