Punch Taverns has made an offer to buy troubled pub chain rival Mitchells & Butlers, it has been reported.
M&B owns the All Bar One and Harvester chains
Reports in Sunday newspapers did not say how much Punch was willing to pay, but a statement from it could be made as early as Monday morning.
Mitchells & Butlers, owner of the All Bar One chain, is vulnerable to takeover after losing £274m through a collapsed property deal.
Both companies have declined to comment on the press speculation.
However, M&B said last week that it had already received "preliminary and tentative" expressions of interest from a number of suitors.
Other interested parties
In addition to Punch, M&B is said to be attracting a lot of interest from private equity groups Blackstone, Cinven, TPG and CVC.
M&B's largest shareholder, entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz, may also launch a bid for the firm.
He currently has a 23% stake.
A merger of Punch and M&B would create a pub giant worth around £3.7bn, with more than 10,500 outlets.