Spanish hotel group Barceló Hotels & Resorts is reportedly in advanced talks to take over the running of the Paramount Group of Hotels.
The company, which owns or manages more than 130 hotels with 35,000 rooms in 13 countries, is the front runner to take on a long-term lease to run Paramount's hotels, which include the Lygon Arms, in the Cotswolds and the Imperial in Torquay, according to The Times.
The move to offer a long-term lease came after bidders balked at the £600m asking price proposed by strategic advisers NM Rothschild and Shore Capital last November.
Paramount, whose other hotels include the Majestic in Harrogate and the Palace in Buxton as well as stately home Walton Hall, is owned by Dawnay Shore Hotels (DSH), a vehicle set up in 2004 by Dawnay Day and Shore Capital.
It has since spent £328m acquiring 20 hotels and invested heavily on making improvements.
By Daniel Thomas