Shareholders' hopes of a further bidding battle for Chloride evaporated Thursday as ABB ( ABB) said it would not match Emerson's ( EMR) near-£1 billion offer for the British electrical equipment group.

"While we still see considerable value in the combination of ABB and Chloride and have a high regard for the Chloride management team, we must take a disciplined approach when assessing potential acquisitions", said Joe Hogan, ABB's chief executive, in a brief statement.

The Swiss-Swedish group had two days to match any improved offer from rival Emerson after handsomely topping its U.S. rival's initial 275 pence a share bid with a 325 pence offer. Emerson responded this week by raising its price to 375 pence a share, leaving the ball in ABB's court.

Analysts were divided as to whether ABB would respond, given the fact that the Emerson's improved offer was widely seen as ahead of the roughly 340 pence to 350 pence regarded as a fair price for Chloride.

However, many noted ABB's deep pockets, with net cash of about $5.5 billion even after its recent $1 billion purchase of Ventyx and roughly $1 billion proposal to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary.

ABB shareholders will be relieved the group has not been tempted to overpay, even for an attractive asset that would have taken it into a new business. Emerson was regarded by many observers as the more logical buyer, given its existing presence in uninterruptible power supplies -- Chloride's core business -- and the synergy potentials.

But with ABB having initiated three deals in short succession, and walking away from one now, analysts will be wondering where the cash-rich company might strike next.