CHEUNG Kong Holdings and CITIC Pacific increased their offer for Miramar Hotel to $17 per share yesterday, leaving analysts wondering where the territory's biggest takeover battle in years will lead next. The new bid also offers $10 per outstanding warrant, valuing the hotel company at $9.65 billion. The offer represents a 4.94 per cent premium over Miramar's closing price of $16.20 on Thursday, before shares were suspended, and equals the offer by Henderson Investment on Friday for a 34.78 per cent stake. The new offer by Cheung Kong-CITIC has left analysts considering several different scenarios. Some believe yesterday's development will lead to a joint takeover by Henderson and the Cheung Kong/CITIC consortium. This is based on the premise that Cheung Kong and Henderson have been engaged in a number of projects together in the past. The fact that the revised Cheung Kong/CITIC bid exactly matches the price Henderson offered for Miramar has led some analysts to rule out a takeover battle between the two groups. ''If Li Ka-shing was trying to out-do [Henderson chairman] Lee Shau-kee, then he would have topped his offer,'' said one broker. Another broker said there was little indication the two sides would fight for control of Miramar, given that Henderson had stated it would not make a general offer. ''Shareholders should sell though, because there is not going to be a bidding war which will send Miramar's price over $17,'' he said. However, other commentators said that a Cheung Kong/Henderson deal was not a foregone conclusion. ''This is very unusual,'' said one broker. ''In a classic Chinese play, this sort of thing is done behind closed doors, not in public. I really think there is more to this deal than meets the eye.'' Cheung Kong and CITIC Pacific, the Hongkong listed mainland investment holding company controlled by the State Council in Beijing, made a general offer for Miramar on June 9 at $15.50 per share. The bid was subsequently raised to $16.50 on Thursday before Henderson topped it on Friday. There was even speculation last night that another party may enter the bidding, if Cheung Kong and Henderson were not negotiating a deal. ''Miramar Hotel is far more related to the New World group, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some action from that corner next week,'' said an analyst with a European investment bank. Despite all the speculation, brokers are in agreement on one point - the poor treatment of minorities. ''It's the same old thing; minorities lose out either way,'' said one broker. ''They get $17 from Cheung Kong, which is not even five per cent above the market price, or nothing from Henderson.''