German electronics and engineering rivals Siemens and Robert Bosch have made a surprise A9.1 billion bid for Atecs, Mannesmann's automotive and engineering subsidiary.
The joint bid beats a A8.75 billion offer from German steel and engineering group ThyssenKrupp.
The Siemens/Bosch bid has narrowed the field of potential candidates to take over Atecs.
'The price is now very high,' said automotive analyst Jürgen Pieper at Bank Metzler in Frankfurt.
But it is not clear whether the European competition authorities will allow the Siemens/Bosch bid.
The two companies, together with Atecs subsidiary VDO, have dominant shares in the European navigation systems market. Siemens and Bosch are also leading competitors in areas such as engine control units in Europe.