Leisure giant Whitbread is reportedly poised to agree a deal worth more than £40 million to acquire hotel group Golden Tulip UK.
The move, first revealed on Kitchen Rat last week, would see the Premier Travel Inn owner taking on Golden Tulip's seven trading hotels, and the eight under construction.
Whitbread shares rose 39p to £15.79 yesterday as speculation grew about the deal, which would make sense given PTI rival Travelodge's rapid expansion plans.
At the start of the year, Golden Tulip promoted Andrew Silver to managing director to support its own ambitious expansion plans in the UK and set itself a target of 25 hotels by 2009.
Golden Tulip is backed by private equity firm Graphite Capital and Barclays Bank.
By Daniel Thomas