InterContinental Hotels (IHG) is in exclusive talks to take on the management of 33 All Nippon Airways (ANA) hotels and resorts in Japan, according to a report in the Times.
IHG is reportedly set to win a 75% stake in the operating company for about $35m (£18.8m) ahead of Hilton Hotels Corporation and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
It is believed that four hotels will be reflagged as InterContinentals, with the remainder operating under the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn banners with an ANA prefix.
ANA is looking to raise cash to invest in its air cargo business and its hotel business made a profit of yen4.6b (£22m) last year.
A spokesman for IHG said the company would not comment on market speculation.
In a separate deal, IHG is reportedly set to sell seven European hotels to Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund for about £400m.
According to the Times, Morgan Stanley has beaten off competition from US private equity group Blackstone and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The properties were put up for sale in February and include sites in Amsterdam, Budapest, Rome, Frankfurt, Madrid, Vienna and the Carlton hotel in Cannes, France.
Morgan Stanley has reportedly agreed to rebrand two of its hotels in Australia and Japan as an InterContinental and Crowne Plaza, respectively, as part of a management deal with IHG.
The deal, which will see IHG retain long-term management control of the hotels, is the final group of European sites to be offloaded and will take its total global sale proceeds to about £3b.
An IHG spokesman denied that Morgan Stanley was the frontrunner.
"The sale is progressing well. They only went on the market in February and these deals normally take six to nine months to complete," he said.
By Tom Bill