The Guardian is reporting that its parent company Guardian Media Group could sell its 50.3 per cent stake in its classified car advertising business Auto Trader.
If it goes ahead then the deal would be worth up to £600m.
A report on The Guardian’s website said:
It is understood no formal bid has been tabled by Apax, but discussions were described by one source as "more serious" following a number of previous discussions between the joint venture partners about the future of Auto Trader Group.
Although GMG does not necessarily consider itself a long term owner of its half of Auto Trader, Apax's tentative approach is not thought to be likely to result in a transaction.
Apax acquired a 49.7% stake in the classified car business from GMG in 2007 in a deal that valued it at about £1.3bn. A clause gives each partner the right to buy out the other if a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.
In August GMG reported pre-tax losses of £75.6m.