Landprop, the property division of Inter Ikea Group, is being tipped as the frontrunner to buy the ITV site in central Manchester after a deal with John Early's Genr8 fell through.
Genr8, founded by former Amec chairman Early, was selected in August 2012 as the preferred party to buy the site. Genr8 was understood to be lining up Malaysian backers to fund the 14-acre development in Quay Street, which ITV is vacating to move to Media City UK in Trafford and Salford Quays.
However, that deal has now fallen through. Genr8 bid between £25m and £30m for the site, which the council has reserved for a mix of residential, office and retail.
As well as Landprop, other runners-up shortlisted by ITV and adviser Jones Lang LaSalle included the Bion Group.
All parties declined to comment.