The management team at exclusive contract caterer Searcyis close to completing a buyout of the business after weeks of sometimes fractious negotiations with current owner Alternative Hotels Group (AHG).
Led by chairman Richard Tear and chief executive Doug Tetley, the management team had expected to complete a deal by 1 June but an unexpected financial issue had threatened to derail negotiations.
It is thought the buy-out will be in the region of £2m, far short of the £20m AHG was reported to have paid for the business in June 2007.
Since then Searcy has lost the contract for the capital's Royal Opera House, failing to replace it with another of a similar calibre. Though it still counts prestigious clients such as the Gherkin, the National Portrait Gallery and St Pancras Grand among its roll-call, other operations such as the Commonwealth Club are considered to be less lucrative.
A source close to the negotiations revealed that at one point last week it looked at though AHG would listen to outside offers for the business, but that a deal was now likely to go ahead.
He added: "The original completion date was 1 June but the team discovered a financial blip late on in terms of the valuation of the company and return on investment. It led to minor skirmishes and things got fairly feisty at one point.
"They're now back in talks and it looks as though a deal could be done this week."
De Vere owner Alternative Hotels Group was set up in 2005 as a joint venture with the bank of Scotland and several Marylebone Warwick Balfour directors headed by Richard Balfour-Lynn.
It considers Searcy a non-core asset and is seeking to dispose of it to concentrate on its best-known brands such as Liberty of London, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, and Village Hotels.
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By James Stagg
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