The £100 million sale of ten BUPA hospitals appears to be on track after the healthcare company confirmed it was in exclusive talks with a potential buyer.
Reports have named the venturecapital arm of insurer Legal & General (LGV) - already the owner of Vue Cinemas and the Unique Pub Company - as the likely bidder.
LGV already has interests in the healthcare market, following its acquisition of Craegmoor Healthcare.
BUPA is selling smaller hospitals in Farnham, Reading, Hythe, Hastings, Halifax, Leeds, Blackpool, Hull, Macclesfield and Wrexham.
However, the three BUPA hospitals serving the West Midlands were not on the list of ten institutions under negotiation.
Parkway hospital in Solihull, South Bank Hospital in Worcester and Little Aston hospital in Sutton Coldfield will remain affiliated to the health firm for the time being.
BUPA, which announced plans to sell the ten sites in June, said it had granted a period of exclusivity to one party, but did not clarify who it was.
The sites are being sold by BUPA, following a review of its portfolio, which includes a total of 34 hospitals, 250 care homes and a medical-insurance arm.
BUPA spokeswoman Nicole Johnson said: "When BUPA announced the sale last June, we said that we were restructuring our portfolio and would be marketing for sale ten hospitals that don't fit comfortably with the way we plan to manage and operate our business in the future, to enable us to offer better value healthcare to all our customers. It is our intention to sell them as a going concern."
It is expected BUPA will invest £100 million over three years in its remaining hospitals, most of which are twice the size of the sites being sold.
In the West Midlands, BUPA's Parkway Hospital offers comprehensive private care to patients from Solihull, Birmingham, Warwickshire and the West Midlands. It specialises in the treatment of breast cancer and offers a range of diagnostic equipment, surgeons and radiologists.
South Bank Hospital covers Worcester and the surrounding parts of Worcestershire and the West Midlands. BUPA has accredited it as a centre of excellence for bowel-cancer treatment, but the hospital also manages skin, prostate, bladder and lung cancer.
Little Aston hospital specialises in both breast and bowel cancer treatment.
All three supply a range of other treatments, including cosmetic and obesity surgery such as breast enlargements and reductions, liposuction and gastric balloon techniques.