Former nightclub boss Paul Kinsey is thought to be preparing a bid for Brannigans, the chain that collapsed into administration in November last year. Mr Kinsey quit his position as chief executive of First Leisure last week to clear the way for a bid for the 20-strong business.
The official line was he resigned to pursue "other business interests".
It is thought he will take the helm as part of a management team backed by a bank or private equity group.
Brannigans was formerly owned by Mustard Entertainment. The group's banks appointed receivers after Mustard fell behind with debt repayments.
The business employs 700 staff and has annual sales of £34m.
It would not be the first time Mr Kinsey has been involved in such a deal. Backed by Candover, he led a management buy-out of 43 First Leisure Corporation nightclubs when the business was broken up three years ago.
Mr Kinsey is no stranger to Brannigans either. The "eating, drinking and cavorting" brand was also part of the First Corporation empire before it was sold to Mustard.
The receiver for Brannigans is Mike Jervis at Price Waterhouse Coopers. "I can't comment on specific individuals who may or may not be interested," said Mr Jervais.
"What i would say is that the Brannigans business is performing very well. The regional managers have been brilliant at keeping everyone motivated.
"We would hope to conclude something soon - as with any business, receivership is a strain on all those involved with the company."
Mustard bar group is Branni-gone (20 November 2002)