Cazoo is investigating going public with an IPO valuation potentially more than £5bn. It is working with bankers on options, which could involve a London listing, or a merger with a New York-listed special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Sky News says any move would not take place until much later in the year.

Shares in the owner of the Daily Mail, which holds a 20% stake in Cazoo (and has invested £117m in the online retailer), leapt by a fifth amid hopes of a £1bn profit.

Cazoo says it does “not comment on speculation, and should we have an announcement to make… we shall do so at the appropriate time”.

Over the weekend, it emerged founder Alex Chesterman sold shares worth £100m in September, shortly before Cazoo announced it had raised £240m (valuing the firm at more than £2bn). The sale was not announced at the time. In total, Cazoo (which has a workforce of 2,000) has raised £450m.

Cazoo has sold around 20k cars since its 2019 launch and generated revenues of more than £200m. Mr Chesterman modelled the company on US firm Carvana, whose valuation has soared from £2bn when floated in 2017, to £52bn.