Hilton is poised to sell 11 of its provincial hotels in a deal that is expected to raise some £130m for the hotel chain.
The company put the hotels on the market in November and since then has been whittling down the list of 90 or so operators, equity firms and individuals that have expressed interest in them.
Official bids for the hotels were put in a week and a half ago from a number of parties, Hilton said today, which were now being evaluated.
However, the chain distanced itself from reports that private equity firms Dawnay Shore, owner of the Paramount chain, and Nikko Principal Investments, now in charge of Menzies Hotels, were the frontrunners in the process.
"The assumption that two companies are in the lead is not accurate," a spokesman stressed.
The 11 hotels are the Hiltons in Portsmouth, Bradford, Corby, Garforth in Leeds, Norwich, Brighton, Edinburgh, Dunblane and East Kilbride.
A Hilton mews site on Stanhope Row in London's Mayfair and another hotel in Cheshire are also part of the package.
The sale will see Hilton divest itself completely of the hotels. It will not even maintain a role in the management or operation of the sites.
Hilton said it was keen now to seal the deal "earlier rather than later", and is hoping, barring unforeseen delays, formally to announce the sale before it publishes full-year results at the end of this month.
by Nic Paton