Procter & Gamble is understood to be among the firms vying for the German haircare company Schwarzkopf.
P&G, along with Henkel and Japanese cosmetics firm Shiseido, is said to be in discussions with German chemical group Hoechst, owner of Schwarzkopf.
Hoechst owns a 77 per cent stake in the Schwarzkopf company.
Hoechst made an announcement back in early February that it had hired an investment bank to discuss the future for its personal care business, which includes Schwarzkopf and the cosmetics companies Jade and Marbert. Schwarzkopf is the biggest of the three brands, with international sales of $760m (£480m).
Jade and Marbert are predominantly German brands.
Hoechst said this week that its options include either selling off the brands or forging partnerships with competitive companies.
Schwarzkopf’s German headquarters confirmed last week that it has “been looking for a strategic alliance with other international cosmetics companies in order to continue the successful business results which have been achieved over the past two years”.
A UK spokesman said that any moves were intended to improve Schwarzkopf’s performance and would have little impact on its branding.