Bosses at Cumbria-born Eddie Stobart Logistics have confirmed that major shareholder DBAY Advisors have expressed interest in taking over the business.

In what it said was a response to media speculation, the haulage company’s board confirmed it had received a “preliminary expression of interest” from the international asset management firm, which currently has a 10 per cent stake in the road haulage business.

However, in a statement Eddie Stobart’s board was coy over where the approach from DBAY Advisors could lead.

Confirming that it had received the expression of interest “in relation to a possible offer to be made by funds managed by DBAY for the entire issued, and to be issued, share capital of the company”, Eddie Stobart added: “There can be no certainty either that an offer will be made nor as to the terms of any offer, if made. A further announcement will be made when appropriate.”

Under stock market rules DBAY Advisors – which has offices in London and Douglas on the Isle of Man – has until 5pm on October 7 to either table a formal bid or walk away.

And any deal would need to be voted through by shareholders, which include largest single shareholder Neil Woodford.

Mr Woodford – who owns 23 per cent of the company – was forced to suspend his fund following a series poor results that led to hundreds of investors attempting to cash out.

According to reports, Mr Woodford has been selling shares to raise sufficient cash to re-open his fund – but selling shares in Eddie Stobart is currently not an option.

Last month shares in Eddie Stobart were suspended at 70p after the company, which trades on the junior AIM stock exchange, revealed that bosses had found a £2 million accounting error.

They said profits for the first half would be "significantly lower" than forecast and led to chief executive Alex Laffey being shown the door with immediate effect.

Isle of Man-based DBAY Advisors has been involved with Eddie Stobart for several years, including its flotation in 2017 in which Carlisle-headquartered Stobart Group – which owns Carlisle Lake District Airport – sold its stake in the haulage business.

Eddie Stobart Logistics continues to pay royalties to its former owner for using the name – synonymous with Cumbria since its creation in the 1940s – although its bosses have said they are reviewing whether to keep the name once the current licensing deal ends next year.