Body Shop has received a takeover approach from a Mexican company, Grupo Omnilife, which sells direct–to–customer nutritional supplements.
The approach values the British company, founded by Anita Roddick and her husband Gordon, at about $500 million (£362m).
Body Shop saiid talks were at an early stage and it was no certain that an agreement would be reached.
Body Shop, founded in 1976 in Brighton, has more than 1,800 stores worldwide, 315 of them in the UK. In the 1980s, the group floated on the London Stock Exchange, and it is now run by chief executive Patrick Gournay.
Ms Roddick is co–chair of the business, with her husband Gordon Roddick, and is responsible for the "creative inspiration behind the company's style and image".
She owns a 12.4% stake in the business, while Mr Roddick has a 12.5% stake.
Last month the company reported a fall in profits to £25m, compared with £31.5m.
Body Shop shares rose 25 per cent to 134p in early trading today valuing the group at £260m.Reuse content