Australian retailer Foodland Associated upped the stakes in its courtship of Dairy Farm International Holdings' New Zealand grocery business [Woolworths] today [Tuesday] after Britain's Privy Council cleared the way for a bid.

"We're now clear to approach Dairy Farm once again to hopefully enter into negotiations if they are agreeable to selling the business," Foodland managing director Trevor Coates told Reuters.

Foodland shares rose 8% to a record high of A$18.60 (US$10.00) on the successful appeal to the Privy Council, the highest court of appeal under New Zealand law, against a court ruling which had blocked Foodland buying Woolworths last year, reported Reuters.

Competition concerns has prompted concern over the deal, which would see the second largest and third largest companies in the New Zealand market merge to challenge seriously the 55% market share held by market leader Foodstuffs.