I am working on a deal in a niche part of a certain broader industry, with only 4-5 players direct competitors in the niche.

I have a very strong relationship with the sellers, who are particularly sensitive about news of their selling leaking out. I have already signed an NDA.

By chance, this morning a close contact of mine who knows I am looking at this broader industry reached out to say he had met someone whose father in law (name unknown at the time) was selling a business in the broader industry and asked if I wanted to be introduced. I was excited at the chance of a bolt-on acquisition in the same broader industry as the current deal is a little small.

Following the introduction by email it turns out the other company is a direct competitor in the niche, and an unfriendly one at that.

On one hand I believe the businesses could be really quite complementary together.

On the other hand everything else about the situation screams red-flag in terms of ethics, and i'm sure speaking to this owner even without revealing any information would really anger the first companies sellers.

I've got to make excuses and pass... right?

Bonus points for advice on how to turn down a request for a meeting 30 minutes after asking for an introduction, without revealing the fact i'm looking at another player in that industry!