Permira, the private-equity group that owns the Travelodge budget-hotel chain, is one of two mystery suitors that have made takeover approaches to De Vere, the leisure business valued at more than £ 500m, writes Matthew Goodman.
Permira has been working with the hotelier Tony Troy on a possible bid for the company, which runs hotels such as The Belfry, the Ryder Cup venue.
De Vere's share price has risen recently after reports that the group had received informal approaches from two unnamed private-equity groups. The shares closed at 638 1/2p on Friday, valuing the group at £ 527m.
De Vere is not currently in talks with either firm, but its chief executive, Carl Leaver, is likely to be questioned about the possibility of a takeover when he presents the company's annual results on Wednesday.
Asked about Permira's interest, a De Vere spokesman said: "We don't comment on market rumour and speculation." Permira also declined to comment.
Meanwhile, De Vere chairman Lord Daresbury is to join the new internet boom by bringing Nasstar, an application service provider, to AIM in a £ 3m flotation. He owns a 10% stake in the business, which was founded by the entrepreneur Charles Black. The business allows companies to use software over the internet.