Dr Martens, the classic British boot brand, is poised to be sold to private equity firm Permira for around £300 million.
The Griggs family, which owns the majority of the business, is in advanced talks about a deal that could be announced by the end of this month, sources confirmed.
It would means the boots, footwear of choice for generations of skinheads, punks and students, joining the Permira stable of brands which also includes Hugo Boss and New Look.
Dr Martens has enjoyed a revival in fortunes in recent years as a new generation of stars such as Miley Cyrus, Emma Watson and Agyness Deyn took up the "bovver boots" whose popularity - once espoused by the likes of The Who's Pete Townshend - had been on the wane.
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The deal comes amid reports that the Griggs family is looking to exit the business after more than 50 years running the brand that last year made £15.3 million pre-tax profits on revenues of £110 million, following an abortive sale attempt last year.
Permira is thought likely to try to expand Dr Martens' online and store presence into new international markets.
The Northamptonshire-based Griggs family have been making shoes since 1901 and started producing the new boots in 1960 after the development of a revolutionary new air-cushioned sole by the Germans Klaus Martens and Herbert Funck.
Any deal will have to involve a separate royalty fee paid to the family of the inventors, according the Daily Telegraph.
A Permira spokeswoman declined to comment on reports of a deal. The Griggs family could not be reached for a response.