Caffè Nero chief executive Gerry Ford is poised to make a management buyout of the coffee shop chain.
According to a statement from the 262-strong group, Ford has made an informal approach "which may or may not lead to an offer being made to purchase the entire share capital."
No firm offer is on the table and the company added that matters were "at a very early stage".
One City analyst said the move looked good on paper. "It's a great company with a lot of room for growth in the UK, strong like-for-like sales and Ford has proved to be a good operator."
Ford, who has a 16.3% stake in Caffè Nero, declined to comment.
By Tom Bill