A UK national broadsheet newspaper has reported that Isle of Man-based John Whittaker is in talks to sell part of his stake in Peel Ports.

It is reported that the billionaire property tycoon is in talks with ATP, one of Europe’s biggest pension funds, about a potential sale of a stake in Peel Ports.

According to the business section of The Daily Telegraph, Mr Whittaker is looking to sell up to 25% of the £4bn ports operator alongside fellow investor Deutsche Bank.

According to the paper’s sources in the City, other imternational funds weighing bids for the business include Dutch investment manager APG and Australia’s QIC.

With annual revenues of £716m and pre-tax earnings of £230m, Peel Ports is the UK’s second biggest ports group, operating in ports such as Liverpool, Clydeport, Dublin, Heysham and the Manchester Ship Canal.

The company has been working on expanding its Liverpool2 container terminals so it can receive larger ships with an eye on increasing transatlantic trade.

In this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, John Whittaker and family are listed in 77th place, as being worth £1.95bn. But that was £300m down on the previous year.

A representative from Peel Ports said they were making no comment.