World-famous bookseller Foyles has said it would consider a sale, potentially ending 100 years of ownership by the founding family.
The admission follows Monday's arrival of Mike McGinley - who tried to stage a management buy-out of music specialist Our Price in the late 1990s - as chief executive.
McGinley confirmed his interest in an eventual management buy-out, but his initial priority is to generate better returns for the family shareholders.
He is understood to be in line for a stake if financial targets are met.
Foyles is one of the last of London's landmark stores still under founding family control. Original owners of other trophy stores - including Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum's - have all long-since ended their association with the businesses.
Foyles' chairman Christopher Foyle said: 'There is no one in the next generation that looks like they are able, or willing, to take the business on. If, let's say, the company is worth£6 million and someone offered us£20 million - anything is for sale at a price.'
He insisted there is no rush to sell and thought it might be more likely in five to 10 years' time, following a business turnaround that started in 1999.
At that time, the 40,000 sq ft (3,715 sq m) warren had no automated stock system and accounts were kept manually by several elderly ladies.
In the past six months, Foyles, which owns the freehold to its giant Charing Cross Road property, has made a first-half trading profit for the first time in eight years. Sales to June 30 are expected to exceed£12 million.
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