UK brewer Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) says it has entered into talks with Carlsberg and Heineken over a 800 pence-per-share bid proposal.
S&N's famous brands include Newcastle Brown Ale
S&N, which brews Foster's and Kronenbourg, has finally agreed to discussions after rejecting earlier bid proposals from the consortium.
The proposal values S&N at £7.8bn but the firm warned shareholders there was no certainty a formal bid would emerge.
The two sides have until 24 January to clinch a deal.
The UK Takeover Panel had given the Carlsberg-Heineken consortium a 21 January deadline to make a formal bid.
The two sides requested a short extension to allow the consortium to complete due diligence.
Carlsberg and Heineken first made an approach for S&N in October last year, when it suggested a 720p-per-share offer.
However, this was flatly rejected by S&N, and further approaches of 750p- and 780p-a-share were also turned down.
Last week, S&N said that it would be prepared to talk to the Carlsberg-Heineken consortium if it made a firm proposal of at least 800p per share.
If Carlsberg and Heineken are successful in buying S&N, their plan is to split the company up.
Heineken would take control of S&N's main business in the UK and some other European markets, while Carlsberg would take over the operations in France and Greece.
Carlsberg would also gain full control of Russia-based brewer Baltic Beverages Holdings (BBH), which is currently jointly owned by it and S&N.
S&N had argued that by making the bid with Heineken, Carlsberg had breached the terms of the BBH joint agreement.