South Africa's largest private education group Curro Holdings said on Wednesday it had withdrawn its bid for smaller rival Advtech after the target's board last week rejected the offer and declined to refer it to shareholders.
Advtech's board rejected the 6 billion rand ($478 million)offer last week, saying that it was not in the best interest of the company.
Curro, however, had the public support of Advtech's two largest shareholders and claimed it had the support of more than 50 percent of shareholders in total.
Advtech acting chief executive on Tuesday described the relationship between his company's board and Curro as hostile.
Curro said on Wednesday it cannot justify the 13 rand a share price it offered conditionally after it was denied access to Advtech's books to carry out a due diligence.
Curro said that it had been keen to consolidate the companies' head offices, but would not cut the budgets of schools but the target's board has said that no savings in a merged entity would be possible.
The takeover battle to create a $1.5 billion private education giant in South Africa pitted shareholders against parents and exposing tensions over race, language and ethnicity two decades after the end of apartheid.
Shares in Advtech were down 2.44 percent to 12 rand by 1300 GMT, while Curro's stock gained 1.73 percent to 34.79 rand.
($1 = 12.5425 rand)