The writing may be on the wall for the five-year-old marriage of the AA motoring organisation and the over-50s insurance and travel business Saga, as their private owner considers a break-up.
Industry sources say that Acromas, the debt-laden owner of the two businesses, has hired accountancy firm Ernst & Young to explore options for its operations, which may include a £5 billion sale of the roadside assistance company.
The move raises the prospect that Acromas may be weighing up a return of cash to its private equity backers, including Charterhouse and CVC.
The AA dates back to 1905 and has 16 million members.
It is thought Saga could fetch up to £4bn, analysts say.
Acromas was formed through a £6bn merger deal at the height of the credit boom in 2007 that was funded by £4.8bn of debt.
However, most of the cash borrowed to finance the takeover does not have to be repaid until 2015.
The latest developments suggest something of a U-turn for the group, which at its full-year results in July said that it was still looking at a stock-market flotation of the whole group.
The business, whose other brands include motoring school BSM and Titan Travel, grew turnover by 15 per cent to £2bn in the year to 31 January. Under the Saga brand, Acromas sold 150,000 holidays last year.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west