The company that prints sterling banknotes may be taken over by a French rival, in a bid that could mean British money is printed abroad.
De La Rue prints banknotes for more than 150 currencies
De La Rue, which also has a contract from the Home Office to print passports, received a takeover offer worth £750m from the French firm Orberthur Technologies.
Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman exclusively revealed the news on Sunday.
Following this, the company confirmed in a statement that it had received a "highly preliminary and opportunistic approach" suggesting that it may be open to further negotiations.
But it added: "There is no certainty that this highly preliminary approach will lead to an offer."
De La Rue is currently valued at £640m.
In addition to printing sterling banknotes for the Bank of England, the firm prints more than 150 other currencies.
The takeover bid comes after paper production problems at one of De La Rue’s facilities in November risked it losing a key client and cost the chief executive his job.
Kleinman said: "Oberthur is now understood to be considering its next move and may decide to increase its offer.
"If it does so, it would reignite the ongoing debate about the foreign ownership of British companies, which caught the public and political imagination this year with Kraft Foods’ takeover of Cadbury."
Oberthur Technologies prints the euro circulated in the French economy.
The 168-year-old company is majority owned by the Savare family.
It isn’t clear whether the Government would have any objection to the production of sterling or biometric passports transferring to a foreign company.
Mark Kleinman, Sky News City Editor
Cadbury"s was the last Company to be taken over, now even our currency can be jeopardised by being printed abroad, possibly
Passports as well. Britain truly is bankrupt . The Government has no thought for those who will be joining the unemployed if this deal
goes through and for Security reasons the Government should take over the Company. So much for" Made in Britain".
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