The battle for China Gas Holdings Ltd. could be taking another dramatic turn as another potential suitor ups the stakes. The Hong Kong-listed piped gas distributor is the subject of a US$2.15 billion joint takeover bid by state-backed China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, and gas supplier ENN Energy Holdings Ltd. The two companies made an offer for China Gas in December for HK$3.50 a share. Since then, the bid has stalled, with China Gas shareholders putting up resistance against what they say is an undervalued offer. Large shareholders have been increasing their stakes to block the takeover. The bidders say the price is fair as it includes a premium reflective of China Gas’s corporate governance issues steaming from the arrest of its co-founder’s imprisonment on embezzlement charges last year. But things heated up again on Friday when another Chinese state-backed company, Beijing Enterprises Group Co., bought Oman Oil Co. S.A.O.C.’s 5.42% stake in China Gas for HK$974 million. Beijing Enterprises Group owns Beijing Gas Group, the monopoly natural-gas distributor in Beijing. That takes its stake in China Gas from 3.28% to 8.96%. The prospect of China Gas being locked in a hostile takeover battle between two Chinese state-backed entities is getting investors excited, especially as some analysts had already written the deal off entirely. China Gas shares traded at HK$4.07 on Monday morning, up 4.4%. UBS thinks Beijing Enterprises is likely to block Sinopec’s offer, and that any improved offer needs to be significantly higher than the original bid. But ENN shareholders have expressed concerns over the company’s funding capabilities for a heftier price tag. ENN has postponed the date of its shareholders’ meeting to vote on the deal to no later than May 31. Even if ENN bows out, UBS says Sinopec’s competitor, PetroChina Co., could step in with another offer, as it co-operates with Beijing Enterprises to supply gas in Beijing. And if Sinopec wanted China Gas bad enough, it could go it alone without ENN altogether. China’s ministry of commerce is reviewing Sinopec and ENN’s bid. The deadline for the completion of negotiations between the companies, or the long-stop date, has been extended to July 6, the second extension.