The owner of David Lloyd Leisure is in talks about a £2bn takeover of BCA Marketplace, the owner of WeBuyAnyCar.com.
Sky News can exclusively reveal that TDR Capital is close to agreeing a 243p-a-share offer with the board of BCA.
The proposed deal will also include a 7p-a-share dividend, making the offer worth 250p a share, or about £2bn, according to insiders.
Sources said that the talks could be confirmed in a stock exchange announcement as early as Thursday.
The discussions about a takeover of the FTSE-250 company come a year after a takeover approach to BCA from Apax Partners ended without a deal being agreed.
BCA – which is better known as British Car Auctions – is involved in a spectrum of automotive services, including vehicle exchange and finance.
It also operates the largest transporter fleet in the UK, and provides vehicle management services to a range of corporate clients.
Its expansion has been driven by an aggressive push into new overseas markets, making it Europe’s largest vehicle reseller.
The company’s vehicle-buying division operates in Europe under the name CarTrade2B.
BCA is run by Avril Palmer-Baunack, its executive chairman, who previously held top jobs at Stobart Group, the infrastructure conglomerate.
She also ran Autologic Holdings, the logistics group.
BCA floated in the spring of 2015 through a reverse takeover by Haversham Holdings priced at 150p a share.
The company’s shares have slipped by more than 10% during the last 12 months, sparking renewed interest from private equity firms and frustrating executives who believe the shares to have been mispriced by public investors.
A 250p-a-share deal would come at a roughly 30% premium to Wednesday’s closing share price.
BCA is due to announce annual results next week.
Both BCA and TDR declined to comment.