Japanese sauce manufacturer Bull-Dog has denied reports that it has made any progress towards accepting a takeover bid from US hedge fund Steel Partners.

The private equity group has issued a tender offer of JPY1,584 (US$13.10) a share for the shares in Bull-Dog that it does not already hold. Steel Partners currently has a 10.52% stake in the iconic source maker.

A spokesperson for the group also told just-food that Bull-Dog is not seeking a "white knight" intervention similar to that pursued by Nissin Food Products in response to a takeover move from Steel Partners last year.

Japanese analysts have suggested that this latest strike from a foreign firm is further proof that Japanese industries face a new era of corporate mergers and acquisitions that will more closely resemble the cut-throat deals seen overseas.

Until very recently, hostile takeover bids were still rare in Japan, where private equity and hedge funds have been traditionally viewed as corporate vultures.