Financial advisers from Ernst & Young (EY) are to begin evaluating proposals from four parties in the running to buy cross-border diary co-op LacPatrick, with movement on a sale expected within weeks.
Aurivo, Dale Farm, Glanbia and Lakeland have expressed interest in buying LacPatrick since it effectively put itself up for sale in April.
EY has been engaged to manage the sale process, with progress expected over the coming month.
It is understood the process will see a LacPatrick board sub committee of four - including chairman Andrew McConkey and vice-chairmen Robert Skelton and Keith Agnew - consider the offers once they have been assessed by EY.
Any proposals seen as viable will then be presented to the full board, and ultimately to farmer shareholders for approval.
Co-op members will have the ultimate say, and any deal will need backing from 75% of members. If, as is likely, LacPatrick is consolidated by a rival co-op controlled dairy, the buyer's members will also have to back a deal.
LacPatrick was formed from the merger of Town of Monaghan Dairy and Ballyrashane Dairy in Co Londonderry. It processes more than 600 million litres of milk from over 1,000 farmers - roughly half on each side of the border. The business is led by chief executive Gabriel D'Arcy.