Garden Centre Group is to enter exclusivity talks with private equity firm Terra Firma, it is understood.
The private equity firm, controlled by Guy Hands, is in exclusive talks with Lloyds Banking Group, which owns 40% of Garden Centre Group.
Other bidders still vying to acquire the garden centre specialist are thought to include CCMP Capital.
Garden Centre Group, formerly called Wyevale, was put up for sale last year. It has 130 stores.