One of Scotland’s most famous ice-cream producers is about to sell up. Nardinis has confirmed that it is “in negotiations with a well-known Scottish family” over the sale of the business, which is up for grabs for £3.5m (US$5.1m).

The family denies any truth in speculation circulating that the buyer is Stefano Boni, the owner of the Mr Boni’s ice cream group in Edinburgh. The group is insisting that the Nardini brand remain attached to the ice-cream business under its new owner, which could prove a stumbling block for many of the 44 parties across the UK believed to have expressed an interest in the business.

Nardinis has been trading for 70 years but hit troubled ground in 1997 when family members fell out over the appointment of outsider David Hendry. One of the family members even founded a rival ice-cream company, Il Caffe Casa.