The company which makes branded mobile phones for Land Rover and Kodak is in talks about a £100m-plus sale to the buyout firm behind Loch Lomond whisky.
Sky News understands that Exponent Private Equity is in exclusive discussions about a takeover of Bullitt Group, a Reading-based manufacturer.
The talks, which are said to have been taking place for several weeks, could result in a deal being concluded during the summer, according to people close to the situation.
A deal would yield a return for Britain’s biggest high street lenders, which invested in Bullitt nearly five years ago through the Business Growth Fund (BGF) – a vehicle set up to alleviate mounting criticism that banks were doing too little to support the real economy.
The £2.5bn BGF has now invested in scores of companies across sectors ranging from healthcare to retailing.
Bullitt, which also has a licence to make phones for Caterpillar, the heavy machinery maker, markets its products on their ruggedness and durability.
The company has also worked with Ministry of Sound and JCB, and 18 months ago recruited a chief executive from Virgin Group to help accelerate its expansion.
One person involved in the talks said they were not certain to result in a deal with Exponent, adding that other investors had expressed an interest in backing Bullitt.
According to accounts filed at Companies House, Bullitt recorded sales of $98.4m in 2015, down slightly on the previous year, which it attributed to the dollar’s strength “impacting on demand from Eurozone customers”.
The company said it intended to continue developing its range of consumer electronics devices.
GP Bullhound, an advisory firm, is working with Bullitt on its sale process.
Exponent declined to comment on Thursday, while Bullitt could not be reached.
Source: SKY News