Rentokil bosses have hit back at former Granada chief Sir Gerry Robinson insisting they were not in talks with shareholders over making him executive chairman.
The company said it was "simply not true" that Sir Gerry had set up talks between the board and shareholders over his proposals to mastermind the turnaround of the group.
Rentokil also described Sir Gerry's pay demands as " excessive" and said he had failed to find support for a full-scale takeover.
The comments came after Sir Gerry's investment vehicle Raphoe said Rentokil shareholders were in discussions with him and the Rentokil board over his plans for the company.
Sir Gerry also revealed he would not make an offer for the company now that shareholders and the board were in talks.
Rentokil chairman Brian McGowan said: "We are not surprised that Raphoe has failed to find support or financing for a bid.
"But we are surprised that Robinson claims to have brokered discussions between our board and our shareholders on the subject of his remuneration. That is simply not true.
"Our focus remains on returning Rentokil back to long term profitable growth and on maximising value for Rentokil shareholders. We see no part for Robinson in that."
A statement from the company added: "Raphoe's inference that the board is discussing implementing Raphoe's proposals - with or without any changes to Robinson's excessive package - is just plain misleading."
Raphoe stood by its statement yesterday, however, and said it had never claimed to have brokered discussions between Rentokil shareholders and the board.
A Raphoe spokesman said this was "wild misrepresentation" by Rentokil and added: "It reflects the panic that the board of Rentokil are rightly in at the moment."
Earlier, Sir Gerry ruled out making an offer. It came as a put-up or shut-up deadline for Sir Gerry to make an offer passed, and ended speculation that he was considering a £3 billion takeover bid.
Raphoe said the decision followed discussions between Sir Gerry and Rentokil shareholders over his proposals for the future of the company.
The proposals included his appointment as executive chairman for three to five years as well as a 2.5 per cent stake in the company worth around £70 million, linked to performance targets.
Sir Gerry said Rentokil shareholders were now in discussions with the Rentokil board and he expected an outcome by next Monday.
Last month he warned Rentokil that if it rejected his proposals, he would consider a £3 billion takeover bid or call an extraordinary general meeting to gain the support of shareholders for his appointment as executive chairman.