Sherwood Forest NHS Trust in takeover talks to help make improvements
Two NHS trusts have launched takeover bids of another trust which was given three months to improve.
The Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, which runs the King's Mill, Newark and Mansfield Community hospitals, was placed into special measures in 2013.
Last year the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said there were still "serious problems" with death rates and care standards.
The trust said a merger would help make "necessary sustainable improvements".
Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust are both in talks with the trust about possible takeovers.
Interim chief executive Peter Herring said: "Whilst we are already making good progress in addressing the concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission's report, we believe we could make more rapid progress and improvements by formally combining with another NHS organisation.
"A long-term partnership will allow our hospitals to benefit from a stable leadership team and their strong working practices.
"The partnership will also improve our ability to recruit into key medical and nursing posts."
Peter Homa, chief executive of the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) Trust, said it had been providing support since October and considered it its "duty to share good practice".
"We enter this exercise with the single objective of doing what is best for patients in Nottinghamshire and securing a sustainable health and social care system for the local community in the future."
The preferred partner will be announced next month.