About a dozen groups are said to be queuing up for the intimate trading details of Scottish & Newcastle's managed house estate.
Several Sunday newspaper reports suggest that the number of separate parties has swelled to double figures as the £2.3bn sale process gathers pace.
Punch entrepreneur Hugh Osmond (pictured) and property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, who sits on the Pubmaster board, have been linked to the deal as has celebrated dealmaker Guy Hands, through his investment company Terra Firma.
It is thought leisure tycoon Trevor Hemmings, who has a four per cent stake in S&N, is interested. He is understood to be particularly keen on S&N's budget hotel brand Premier Lodge.
Other private equity buyers include BC Partners, Cinven, Nomura and Permira. Potential trade buyers include Mitchells & Butlers and Laurel Pub Company.
Britain's biggest brewer is not in any rush and plans to have completed the sale process by the end of the year.