Private equity firm BC Partners is believed to be preparing a bid for budget hotel chain Travelodge worth between £700m and £750m.
A spokeswoman for BC Partners confirmed that the group was interested in Travelodge but declined to comment further. However, she added that the £750m figure was much nearer the mark than previous reports suggesting it had offered £950m.
Travelodge declined to comment on whether it had received preliminary-offer letters from potential buyers. "We've had names being thrown into the ring since January," said Greg Dawson, director of communications. He also admitted that the strategic review being conducted by UBS Warburg into the chain's future had stimulated interest from a number of parties.
Options being considered by private equity group Permira, which acquired Travelodge in early 2003, include refinancing, a sale, a flotation or a management buyout.
Other potential suitors are Starwood Capital, French hotel operator Accor, and rival budget hotel operator Whitbread.