Struggling Bank Restaurant Group is in merger talks with an unnamed party.
The company's managing director, Christian Delteil, confirmed the AIM-listed group had entered into exploratory discussions, but couldn't give more detail.
Chairman Leigh Collins signalled the group's plans at last week's half-year results announcement: "The directors are acutely aware of the problems associated with the company's small size for a public listed company. Therefore, the directors have continued to assess all realistic options… including proposals either to merge with other restaurant groups and/or raise funds to strengthen the existing balance sheet."
In February Conran Holdings, which owns 25% of the shares in the business, said it would not be buying the company outright, but would continue to offer sales and marketing support.
A Conran spokeswoman said: "We are very happy with our 24.9% stake in Bank and will be making no other comment at this time."
Bank Restaurant Group has a market capitalisation of £1.72m and three restaurants, two in London called Bank Aldwych and Bank Westminster, and one in Birmingham.
For the six months to 30 April, 2004 cost-cutting and a seasonal boost in customer numbers helped the group claw its way back into the black. Pre-tax profit was £13,000 and turnover £4.49m, compared with a £49,000 loss in 2003 and turnover of £4.5m.