Asda is reportedly surrounded by petrol station tycoons and private equity houses after US owner Walmart confirmed it was in talks to sell its stake last week.
Bosses at Walmart are thought to be in early stage talks with a handful of private equity funds.
Potential bidders include entrepreneurs Zuber and Mohsin Issa, the billionaire founders of EG Group, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
The interested line-up also includes US buy-out specialist Lone Star Funds.
Last week, Walmart decided to seek a stake sale or IPO of Asda following the collapse of a merger deal with Sainsbury’s last year.
Meanwhile, Advent International, Blackstone, The Carlyle Group, KKR and Permira all reportedly passed on the opportunity to buy Asda’s property.
Although Asda’s freehold on approximately 75 per cent of its stores is appealing to some potential investors, others have reportedly been put off by the intensity of competition in grocery.
Last week, Walmart also confirmed it was in discussions with a small number of interested parties “who share Walmart and Asda’s commitment and passion”.