2Sisters in pole position for Northern Foods

The way has been left clear for chicken tycoon Ranjit Boparan in his battle to takeover Northern Foods - after the biggest rival pulled out of the race.

Greencore revealed it was unable to trump the £342m offer for the biscuit and pizza manufacturer that has been made by Boparan, the man behind the 2Sisters Food Group.

The entrepreneur, who also owns Harry Ramsden’s, the fish and chip shop operator, also increased his stake in Northern to 13.61% yesterday.

Greencore, the Dublin-based company which makes own-label sandwiches for supermarket chains, spent several weeks working on a deal with an unnamed party.

In a statement to the London  Stock Exchange, Boparan Holdings - the company via which Boparan has made the bid - revealed it had received valid acceptances for 48.25% of Northern’s share capital.

The statement said: “The boards of both Boparan and Northern Foods urge shareholders to accept the recommended cash offer by Boparan before the next closing date of the offer on March 16 2011.”

>> Boparan deadline extended