The on-off takeover saga involving the UK's top coal producer finally ended yesterday when a consortium confirmed it was no longer interested in making a bid.
Nearly £15 million was wiped off the value of UK Coal by the news that the alliance of private equity firm Alchemy, property company Morston Assets and estates group Buccleuch had walked away from takeover talks.
UK Coal - the loss-making owner of seven deep mines, including Daw Mill in north Warwickshire - emerged as a £210 million-plus bid target in April when it received a " highly preliminary" approach.
Discussions were terminated in June with Doncaster-based UK Coal telling shareholders that the potential bidder had not clarified a number of aspects of its approach.
Alchemy responded by claiming bosses at UK Coal declined its offer to meet and discuss the business plan for the mining operations, details of the pension fund and an independent valuation of property assets.
However, the two sides sat down for fresh talks in September and Alchemy yesterday kept the right to make an offer for the firm if another bidder emerges over the next six months.
UK Coal, formerly known as RJB Mining, acquired the former assets of British Coal when the coal industry was privatised.
But its recent performance has been dogged by geological problems that have sent production costs spiralling.
In September, UK Coal said its deep mine at Rossington, near Doncaster, would suffer the same fate as its nearby Harworth mine, which is due to cease production at the end of this year.