Pub group SFI may be sold off after corporate consultants were brought in to decide its future.
Other options being considered by Kroll Corporate Finance - recently brought in to review the accounts at Regent Inns - include finding a way to restructure the group's £80m debt and attracting venture capital funding.
In early 2004 SFI met with venture capital group Avanti but the talks collapsed and the group focused on restructuring and refinancing.
The latest developments come amid rumours of strategy clashes between executive chairman Stuart Lawson and the group's banks. Last April SFI agreed a deal with its banks to write off half its £163m debt in return for a 75% stake in the group.
However, Lawson told Caterer he had "proactively" approached Kroll as he needed more funding to progress his restructuring programme.
Kroll is expected to report its verdict by April.