A likely buyer appears to have emerged for Odeon Cinemas, after reports earlier this month that the UK's largest cinema chain was being put on the auction block by owner Cinven.

According to a report in the UK's Sunday Telegraph, investment bank WestLB is in advanced negotiations to acquire the circuit for close to $733m, with an announcement confirming the deal expected later this month.

Odeon, which was bought by private investment group Cinven from the Rank Group in February 2000 for $456m, and later merged with ABC cinemas, operates over 1,000 screens at 160 sites in the UK.

Odeon Cinemas declined comment. Cinven and WestLB did not return calls by press time.