Irvine Sellar is understood to have been picked as the preferred bidder for Humberts, which has become a victim of Britian’s ailing housing market.

Sellar, who has an £800m investment portfolio including hotels, offices and shopping centres through his Sellar Property Group, is thought to have been told on Friday he is in exclusive talks to buy Humberts by the group’s advisers, who are preparing to sell the company in a so-called 'prepack' administration.

If he completes a deal, Sellar will have seen off competition from Lord Marland, the former Conservative Party chairman. Sellar is estimated to be worth £210m alongside his son James, managing director of his property company.

Sunday Telegraph