What happened

Cincinnati Bell (NYSE:CBB) is the most popular belle at the ball. Who knew?

In December, as you may recall, Cincinnati Bell stock popped 35% in response to a bid by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE:BIP) to acquire the company for $10.50 per share. One month later, an unidentified bidder -- which later turned out to be Australia's Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) -- trumped Brookfield's bid, offering $12 per share. And last week, Brookfield upped its own offer to $12.50.

Fast-forward a few more days, and today we learn that Macquarie Infrastructure is upping its own offer to acquire Cincinnati Bell to $13.50 a share.

Hands raising bid signs at an auction

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Cincinnati Bell says that it will now "carefully review and evaluate the Proposal" from MIRA to see if accepting it will be "in the best interests of the Company and its stakeholders." At a price 8% better than Brookfield's last bid, it would seem to be. But for the time being, "the Brookfield merger agreement remains in effect and the Cincinnati Bell Board has not changed its existing recommendation in support of the transaction with Brookfield."

Yet.

Now what

Investors, however, seem convinced they know how this plays out. With Cincinnati Bell stock rushing ahead to a share price of $14.88 today, investors appear to believe that Brookfield will raise its bid again for the stock -- and perhaps, that MIRA will then raise its bid again as well.

How many times this back and forth continues before Cincinnati Bell declares a winner is anyone's guess.