Swedish food wholesaler and retailer Axfood said its buyout offer for food discount chain Spar Finland had not attracted enough shareholder support.

Axfood had an outstanding offer to buy the Spar stock it did not already own for €27 (US$24.24) per share. When the offer expired on 1 November, however, Axfood had accumulated only 75.2% of the necessary votes.

Lars Nilsson, Axfood's finance officer, said the company did not intend to extend its offer but it would buy shares in Spar on the open market when given the opportunity: "We still intend to increase our ownership."

Spar controls about 7% of the Finish food retail market. Axfood controls about 17% of the Swedish market through its Hemköp outlets and Axfood Lågpris discount operators.

By Jerry Simonsson, just-food.com correspondent