Archie Norman, the former chief of Asda, is poised to launch an estimated £1.3b bid for Brakes, the UK's biggest food distribution company.
Norman, is thought to be looking to secure private equity backing for a bid, according to the Times today although the evaluation is still at an early stage.
He is understood to be considering joining forces with one or more private equity groups, including Blackstone, Bain Capital, CVC and Cinven, which are themselves now examining bids for Brakes.
Previously, Norman has been linked to bids for Esporta, the fitness club chain and Phones4u, the mobile phones chain.
Brakes' current owners CD&R took the company private in 2002 with the support of the founding family, in a £434m deal and it now has a 14% market share.
Last week Brakes reported a 24% rise in first-quarter underlying profits to £24.3m, from sales of £419.4m.
The company, which has grown organically and through acquisition, reported profits of £109m for the year to the end of December, on sales of £1.67b.
By Emily Manson