Leisure giant Whitbread has reportedly entered the €1b (£680m) bid battle for Irish hotel chain Jurys Inns.
The owner of Premier Travel Inn is believed to have joined contenders such as private-equity firm Permira and Robert Tchenguiz, the property tycoon in the race for the company.
Whitbread, which is in the early stages of selling its David Lloyd Leisure fitness clubs, would have no problem funding a deal and is keen to find suitable acquisitions in the hotel sector.
At its preliminary results this Tuesday, Whitbread is likely to confirm that talks about a possible £1b sale of David Lloyd are continuing.
Chief executive Alan Parker is also expected to announce that he has had the group's properties re-valued for the first time in a decade and that they are now worth up to £3.9b.
By Daniel Thomas
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