Motoring group the RAC has received an approach that could lead to a takeover offer.
Shares in the Buckinghamshire-based firm rose 14 per cent after the announcement, giving it a market value of about £1 billion.
The move comes less than a year after rival the AA was snapped up by a private equity consortium for £1.75 billion.
Although the company did not say who had made the approach, analysts believe private equity firms could be interested.
The RAC is best-known for its roadside recovery service, but its wide portfolio of businesses ranges from the BSM driving school to travel insurance and financial services.
It has about 275,000 motor and home policyholders under the RAC Insure brand, while its business services arm includes Lex vehicle leasing - a joint venture with HBOS offering contract hire, fleet management and car finance services.
The company is also the largest vehicle services provider to the Ministry of Defence, managing more than 14,000 vehicles. It is preferred bidder for the renewal of the contract.
It recently unveiled a two per cent hike in annual profits to £88.6 million, although it said it found members of its roadside services arm harder to retain in 2004.
But the RAC failed to repeat the strong growth in demand for breakdown cover seen in past years, with membership remaining static at 2.2 million.
Analyst Alan Matthews at stockbroker Seymour Pierce said private equity firms were likely to be interested.
Other interested parties could include those involved in the RAC's numerous business areas, such as insurers or companies that use its vehicle maintenance services.
Mr Matthews said: "It's got a good brand name both in business and consumer circles. There is a lot you could do with it."
He believed the company could go for more than its current market value.
The AA was sold by energy group Centrica last July to a company formed by venture capitalists CVC and Permira, following a hotly-contested private auction.