Italian confectionery giant Ferrero could announce a £250m deal for Britain's Fox's Biscuits as soon as this week.
Ferrero Group, which is behind brands such as Nutella and Kinder, is in the final stages of talks over a takeover of one of Britain's biggest biscuit makers.
Rivals Burton's Biscuits, which owns the Jammie Dodgers brand, and Biscuit International, one of Europe's largest makers of private label biscuits, had also expressed an interest in Fox's Biscuits.
The potential deal was first reported by Sky News.
Only Fox's branded biscuit business is expected to be included in the deal, and not Fox's own-label products. If agreed, Ferrero would take charge of around 1,500 Fox's Biscuits employees.
Current owner 2 Sisters Food Group called for bids to be submitted last week. Rothschild has been overseeing the auction.
A possible announcement over a deal comes more than three years after 2 Sisters first disclosed it had been approached over Fox's Biscuits by a mystery buyer, believed to be Burton's Biscuits. A deal between the pair, however, failed to materialise.
They were also understood to have discussed a possible merger and stock market listing.
The latest auction had been taking place as 2 Sisters's parent Boparan Holdings looked to reduce its large debt pile.
The company, run by tycoon Ranjit Boparan, a man known as the "Chicken King" due to 2 Sisters' vast poultry operations, has pushed through a raft of disposals in recent years, first selling frozen pizza business Goodfella's in 2018, and later Britain's biggest maker of Christmas puddings Matthew Walker in 2019.
Boparan Holdings has more than £600m of debt repayable next year.
2 Sisters declined to comment on the reports. Ferrero did not immediately respond to requests for comment.