A buyout approach made to Alliance Boots has raised speculation that a private equity takeover bid for the UK's third largest supermarket chain, Sainsbury's, could be off the cards.

Consumer goods retailer Alliance Boots has received a GBP9.7bn (US$18.74bn) offer from deputy chairman Stefano Pessina, with the backing of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).

KKR is also a member of the consortium that declared its interest in Sainsbury's at the beginning of February. If KKR were to decide it is unable to combine the two projects, the Sainsbury's consortium would need to find a new partner or rearrange itself by 13 April, the deadline set by the UK's Takeover Panel.

The consortium eyeing Sainsbury's currently consists of KKR, CVC, Blackstone and Texas Pacific. It has been reported that the consortium could have lined up Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays Capital to help finance the move should KKR drop out.

Sainsbury's shares, which have skyrocketed since the news of private equity interest broke, dropped 2.21% to 532 pence at time of press.