Former Tory Party treasurer Lord Marland and the Reuben brothers could join forces to make a $3bn (£1.4bn) bid for OrientExpress Hotels, the company behind the eponymous train and some of the world’s most famous hotels.
The Reubens are expected to confirm in the next few days that they have built a stake of at least 5% in the group.
Although the two parties are understood to be looking at Orient-Express separately, Marland is known to be friendly with the Reubens and is expected to discuss joining forces to fund a management buyout.
Orient-Express owns most of the properties in which it operates, and has 39 hotels on five continents.
It also operates six luxury tourist trains, including the Venice SimplonOrient-Express, the Eastern and Oriental Express and the Royal Scotsman.