Private investment company Flacks Group has confirmed it is in the "very preliminary stages" of considering a £20m bid for Laura Ashley.
The news comes less than a week after the high street retailer and hospitality business warned its full-year performance is likely to fall short of market expectations.
The group said it was committed to the development of its hospitality arm but would do so through a licensing model after selling the Manor hotel in Elstree to Countrywide Hotels earlier this year.
This was despite reporting like-for-like retail sales were down 4.2% in the 26 weeks to 31 December 2017, with total group sales at £122.9m, down from £134.7m the year before. The company recorded a pre-tax loss of £1.5m for the period.
Flacks Group must announce a firm intention to make an offer no later than 5pm on Monday 25 March.
Laura Ashley has one licensed hotel and four tea rooms. In its performance report it says it has a number of other opportunities in the pipeline with further hospitality openings planned this year.Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).