In the race to acquire Tnuva, Israel's largest food manufacturer and distributor, five consortia submitted their bids, with an offer for US$950m, $150m over the going rate, heading up the competition.

The consortium, led by British and European real estate tycoon Igal Ahouvi, is comprised of an Irish Investment Fund, Russia's largest dairy products manufacturer Wimm-Bill Foods, Elco Holdings and the Rothschild Bank.

Other groups hoping to acquire Tnuva include Apax Partners; Markstone Capital Partners Group together with Deutsche Bank; Africa-Israel Investments Ltd; and Mivtach Shamir Holdings together with Bank Leumi and Merrill Lynch.