Malmaison, the hotel chain owned by US company Wyndham International, is understood to be up for sale.
Executives at the group would not publicly confirm the sale, but insiders said the decision to sell had already been made if the right buyer could be found.
Roy Tutty, chief executive of Wyndham International Europe, said: "I cannot at this stage confirm the situation or deny the situation, because I am not in a position to do so. Always, as a parent, Wyndham must review its strategic alternatives."
A spokesman for Wyndham International added: "We are reviewing some strategic alternatives for Malmaison and when the time is appropriate we will make an announcement."
The chain has hotels in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds and is due to open a 180-bedroom hotel in Birmingham in summer 2001.
Its target is to have 12 Malmaison hotels in England and it has set aside £100m for its UK expansion plans.
Tutty said last year that he expected to be able to reveal details of the group's plans for a hotel in San Francisco in January. But he has still not been able to comment on these plans (Caterer, 24 February, page 8).