Wincanton works with Waitrose, Asda and Sainsbury’s

US logistics firm GXO has been given a deadline to ‘put up or shut up’ after sparking a potential bidding war for Wincanton this week.

London-listed Wincanton, which counts a number of major supermarkets as customers, revealed on Monday that it had given access to due diligence information to an unnamed suitor.

At the same time, the group said French multinational Ceva Logistics had increased its takeover bid from £567m to £605m and continued to unanimously recommend the offer to shareholders.

Wincanton later confirmed, following press speculation, Clipper Logistics owner GXO Logistics as the potential second bidder.

The City’s Takeover Panel has now given GXO until 5pm on 6 March to either declare a firm intention to make an offer for Wincanton or pull out of the running.

Shares in the group soared by more than another 10% to 500p in anticipation of a bidding war and now sit at 504p.

Ceva originally made an offer worth 450p a share last month, with its renewed higher bid this week of 480p a share. The new offer represented aa 62% premium on the 297p closing price of Wincanton’s shares on 18 January before the takeover attempt emerged.

“Although the potential competing bidder has indicated that it is considering making a proposal, as of the date of this announcement, it has not provided the board of Wincanton with any formal proposal relating to a possible offer, including as to terms or price,” the group said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning.

“If any such proposal is provided by the potential competing bidder, the board of Wincanton will carefully consider its terms, in conjunction with its advisers.”