American private equity firm TPG is reported to have emerged as a potential buyer of the Pizza Express chain.
The company is one of a handful of bidders looking at acquiring the 400-strong pizza chain, according to the Sunday Times.
Pizza Express owner, Cinven-backed Gondola Holdings put Pizza Express, which has the majority of its sites in the UK, as well as operations in China, India and the Middle East, up for sale with a price tag of around £1b earlier this year.
Aside from TPG, Advent International, had also been involved in the auction's closing stages but is reported to have pulled out.
Gondola already sold its Byron burger chain for £100m last year, while Ask and Zizzi, both still part of the Gondola stable are also understood to be for sale.