WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) -- India's Essar Steel Holdings has raised its offer for Esmark Inc. by $80 million, or $19 a share. That puts the value of the deal at approximately $750 million.
Esmark has been weighing competing $670 million bids from Essar and Russia's OAO Severstal.
While management endorsed the initial Essar offer, the United Steelworkers partnered with Severstal on a counteroffer. The company is expected to issue a reply to that offer by Friday.
Essar had said last week it was considering raising its initial offer of $17 per share.
Esmark President Craig Bouchard says he's surprised employees and shareholders aren't more supportive of Essar. He says it's planning capital investments of $525 million, double Severstal's plan.
Esmark has operations in 20 states, including subsidiary Wheeling-Pitt plants in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania and a plant in Greensville County in southeast Virginia.