Birmingham vanmaker LDV looks set to be sold - just six months after being taken over by an American venture capital group.
The deal could be announced as early as today, The Birmingham Post understands.
The potential buyer is Russian automotive group RusProm Avto which is owned by tycoon Oleg Deripaska, a friend and business associate of Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.
Mr Deripaska, aged 38, became Russia's youngest billionaire three years ago after building a commercial empire that also includes Rusal, the country's largest aluminium producer.
RusProm Avto is believed to have offered nearly #10 million for the rights to build LDV vehicles in Russia.
But, crucially, the deal gives RusProm a six-week "exclusivity" period in which to carry out due diligence with a view to buying the entire company.
Rumours that LDV's American owners are looking to offload all or part of the Washwood Heath company have been circulating in Birmingham engineering circles for several days.
They were said to be looking at either a full disposal of the business - which has been doing well with its new Maxus van - or a sale of the tooling and intellectual rights to its two discontinued models, the Pilot and the Convoy.
One source told the Post that due diligence was under way and engineers from outside LDV have been seen at the plant.
Someone familiar with the situation said last night: "The two sides are trying to agree a form of words, but an announcement is imminent.
"No one knows yet what the Russians plan doing with LDV or whether it will remain in Birmingham. But the noises have been positive."
LDV was taken over by Sun European Partners, an offshoot of Florida-based Sun Capital Partners, last December.
That deal - believed to be worth in the region of #75 million - followed a period of turmoil which ultimately resulted in LDV being placed temporarily in administration.
Sun would not comment last night on the latest developments but a source close to the group said discussions on a range of issues had been taking place with a number of different overseas companies with a view to expanding LDV's reach into export markets.
LDV over-stretched its finances when it launched the Maxus in January 2005.
Although the vehicle was well received, the manufacturing costs were higher than for the tried and tested Pilot and Convoy and the company hit a cashflow crisis.
That resulted in it going into administration only to be taken over within hours by Sun.
The procedure, called a prepackaged administration, meant the new company was free of liabilities to its closed final salary pension scheme and its unsecured creditors.
It later emerged that LDV had debts of #234 million when it collapsed. The crisis resulted in production being suspended and hundreds of workers laid off.
Ultimately, the workforce was slashed from about 1,000 to about 600.
One casualty was long-serving chief executive Allan Amey who had led the business since the 1993 management buyout from the crashed Anglo-Dutch vans and trucks group Leyland DAF.
By March this year the signs were that LDV was recovering from the slump as the award-winning Maxus became the fastest selling van in its segment of the market.
And in April it was revealed that Sun money had speeded up the introduction of the important minibus variant of the new vehicle.