Top shareholders in Brit Insurance, the Lloyd's insurer, have urged the firm's management to negotiate with Apollo, the US private equity firm, which earlier this month tabled a £770m bid, for an improved offer.
Although senior shareholders largely gave their backing to the Brit board's rebuttal of Apollo's initial offer, a growing number of investors are believed to be frustrated at the company's stance.
"£10 a share was too low but clearly there is a price to be agreed," said one investor. "Perhaps another 50-75p would do it. Management cannot be intransigent. There's no other bidder."
City sources said that an improved offer from Apollo, which has been in direct talks with Brit shareholders, could come as early as this week. But analysts have warned that Brit is unlikely to accept offers below the insurer's book value, estimated at £11 a share. Shares in the insurer closed last week at 925p a share – a 75p discount to Apollo's offer.
Brit is best known outside Lloyds for its sponsorship of the England and Surrey cricket teams.