Troubled gourmet burger chain Byron could be bought for as little as £25m by R Capital, which sold Little Chef in 2013.
The turnaround specialist is leading the race for Byron, which last month hired accountants KMPG to look at options for the future.
Sources told Sky News that some bidders were proposing to pay as little as £25m for the burger chain, which sold for £100m in 2013.
Four stores closed
Byron has been owned by investment firm Hutton Collins for the past four years, and employs 1,800 staff. It closed four stores earlier this year.
Insiders told Sky that Byron had not breached its banking covenants, contrary to market rumours, and was not considering a company voluntary arrangement, a process which enables a company in difficulty to cut losses more easily.
Information distributed to potential bidders is alleged to show that 13 of its 70 UK sites are loss-making or marginal.