MILAN -- Plaid Clothing Group PLC has won an eight-week extension of its status as the exclusive bidder for GFT SpA, according to sources familiar with the talks. The extension was granted by GFT's Italian creditor banks.

The new deadline for the parties to reach a preliminary agreement is July 15.

Plaid's exclusivity would have expired on May 15, the date by which the companies had said they expected to sign an initial accord.

In exchange for the extension, Plaid has agreed to narrow the price adjustability clause that would allow it to modify its initial offer of $250 million (400 billion lire), although it wasn't clear by how much.

GFT and Plaid declined to comment on the status of the talks.

The extension is designed to give Plaid more time to arrange financing for its bid and to allow the Italian banks enough time to approve a more detailed agreement, the sources said.

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