A joint owner of Britain’s biggest dental group is poised to match a rival bid for the business in the coming days, prolonging its 12-year exposure to the sector.

Sky News understands that Palamon Capital Partners, which is a minority shareholder in IDH Group, is close to lodging a £700m offer for the business.

The move would come shortly before a deadline expires in the next few days for Palamon to match a bid from Bridgepoint, another private equity firm.

IDH, which runs about 595 dental practices across the UK, is owned by Palamon and Carlyle, which wants to sell its stake.

Sources said on Thursday that Palamon was in talks about securing financial backing from Ares Management, the alternative investment firm, and some of its own limited partners.

Dental practices have seen their productivity and revenues impacted by the coronavirus pandemic because of measures imposed following the outbreak by Public Health England.

In quarterly results published this week, IDH said it had seen a fall in private revenue during the three months to the end of December.

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Palamon has been an investor in the UK dental sector since 2009, when it acquired Associated Dental Practices (ADP).

ADP then merged with IDH in 2011under the joint ownership of the two private equity firms.

Palamon did not respond to a message seeking comment, while Carlyle declined to comment.