Exeter-based Flybe already works with Stobart, which also owns Carlisle Lake District airport. Stobart Air operates some Flybe services under a franchise deal as well as flying as Aer Lingus Regional.
Stobart said it was looking at a number of potential structures for the deal, including “taking a non-controlling interest in a vehicle to acquire 100% of Flybe, likely to be in cash”.
Flybe said, however, that it “has not received any approach from Stobart Group regarding a possible offer by Stobart Group for Flybe”.
It added: “Flybe shareholders are strongly advised to take no action at this stage. There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any firm offer might be made.”
Flybe has been beset by better rail competition and weaker demand over the winter and issued two profit warnings last year. The carrier floated on the Stock Exchange in 2010 at a price of £2.95 per share. The stock was priced at around 46p on Friday morning having jumped from 35p on Thursday.