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The £200-million-plus takeover of Audley Travel is near to completion following a bid from US investment firm KKR.

Audley is majority-owned by private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe following a deal in 2012.

Equistone and Audley founders Craig Burkinshaw and John Brewer have?held talks with a number of private equity firms since signalling the luxury tour operator was for sale.

However, KKR is in "pole position", according to the Sunday Times, after making an offer well above the £200 million asking price.

The Sunday Times reported the deal should go through before Christmas.

Burkinshaw and Berger founded Audley 20 years go and retain a significant minority stake.

The operator employs about 250 people in Oxfordshire and close to