Barring any last-minute hiccups, negotiations for the group, which are believed to be led by chief executive Des Gunewardena, will secure just under half the business.
An industry source said: "The repayment of the founding loan to Sir Terence would make the potential for a management buyout a more straightforward proposition as a debt-free business]."
A spokesman for Conran Holdings said: "We cannot comment on speculation, but we hope to make a further announcement shortly."
The rumours follow the announcement of record profits for the group, which were boosted by £33.2m from the sale of its 50% investment in the Great Eastern hotel earlier this year to Hyatt.
While turnover for Conran Holdings remained steady at £109.3m for the financial year to 31 March (compared with £108.3m for 2004-05), profit before tax soared to £36.7m from £2.6m the previous year.
The group's eateries include Quaglino's, Butlers Wharf Chop House and Bluebird.