A UK private equity consortium is lining up a £3b (€3.5b) bid for caterer Elior.
CVC Capital Partners has teamed up with BC Partners to launch a buyout of the French company, including its debt.
Current major shareholder Charterhouse Capital Partners, which has headquarters in London, is in the process of preparing a planned exit and Rothschild Bank, HSBC and Credit Agricole have been tasked with finding a replacement.
The bid is understood to be for the whole of Elior, not just the catering business that Charterhouse had initially planned to sell, according to the Financial Times, which cited sources close to the situation.
Charterhouse is understood to prefer a straight sale of Elior but the seller and its advisers want to take their time to persuade other bidders to submit offers for the company before launching a formal auction. They are currently working with banks on a debt package exceeding €2b (£1.75b).