Remploy, a company which provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities, has confirmed that a preferred bidder has been identified for its automotive business based in factories in Birmingham, Coventry and Derby.
Negotiations will now be held to complete a transaction as soon as possible.
The company made the announcement as it confirmed three factories in Blackburn, Neath and Sheffield are to close as no bids have been made for the furniture part of the business.
Lord Ashley represented Stoke-on-Trent from 1966 to 1992 and was best known for campaigning for disabled rights.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said Jack Ashley turned his own tragic experience of losing his hearing into a mission of courage and determination for deaf and disabled people.
He was a pioneer as the first deaf MP to sit in Parliament, but he said he did much more than that.
"There are many millions of men and women with disabilities who will have better lives thanks to Jack Ashley. He succeeded in changing the law and in changing attitudes.
He added: "Jack Ashley will be missed by his family, his friends and his colleagues in the House of Lords. He led an amazing life and will be remembered with deep affection, profound respect and great admiration."