Coliseum, owner of the Sports Cafe chain, said it would be taking a look at pubs owned by Old Monk, currently in administration, in a bid to speed up its own expansion.

Rodger Sargent, finance director at Coliseum, said his company would be interested in large units with late licences, including Springbok.

He said: "That would give us a short cut to opening more units, rather than having to convert banks or other buildings from scratch.

"But even if the location is right, if it's not at the right price we won't go there."

Coliseum owns Sports Cafes in London and Birmingham last year, and l announced a roll-out programme last week that will include Manchester and Leeds. It wants to have 10 outlets by the end of next year.

Old Monk went into receivership after its shares fell 75% last month when it revealed it was in talks with its banks. It sold eight pubs and a London bar for £3.45m to the Puzzle Pub Co, but its bankers called last orders a week ago.

Coliseum says it is still negotiating banking facilities to fund its expansion. Its shares have fallen from 50p when it floated on Aim to just 19.5p.