Derek Quinlan has emerged as the favourite to buy Jurys Inns, as the auction of the hotel chain enters its final round. The Times

Quinlan, acting through his Quinlan Private investment vehicle, is believed to have made the highest bid of the four remaining parties with an offer worth an €1.2bn (£815m).

The figure is thought to put Quinlan at least €100m ahead of Whitbread and Lydian Capital, an investment firm backed by John Magnier and JP McManus, the horse-racing entrepreneurs.