Shares in Aga Rangemaster shot up 25 per cent as it confirmed this afternoon that it is in talks with the Middleby Corporation over a possible cash offer.
In a statement to the stock exchange this afternoon, the company, which makes high-end ranges beginning at about £2,000, said that while there was "no certainty that any formal offer will be made", under UK takeover rules Middleby had until 15 July to make an offer.
In November the company, which has previously launched collaborations with the likes of Cath Kidston, warned that weaker trading in Europe, particularly its French and Irish businesses, would hold back growth - although its UK operations continued to trade well.
At the time, the company said growth was strong in its Marvel Refrigeration division and Fired Earth tile shops.
However, it added: "Performance from Grange, the French-based furniture operation, and Waterford Stanley, the Irish stoves led business, continues to be weak."