Potter director David Yates frontrunner to direct The Hobbit? (updated)

UPDATE: Mr. Yates has now commented on this story.  He denies the rumor.

With four major fantasy films now under his belt (Order of the Phoenix through Deathly Hallows, Part 2), SlashFilm is reporting that director David Yates is the frontrunner to direct The Hobbit. This, after Guillermo Del Toro pulled out of the project two weeks ago citing production delays on another film. From SlashFilm:

I’ve been seeing on a few industry insider tracking boards that David Yates is supposedly the studios top choice to direct The Hobbit. Note: we have no real confirmation of any talks taking place, so for now take it all as purely rumor.

This would certainly be a great film to take on right after Potter! What do you think? Thanks to HPANA for the tip!