The founders of discount UK retail chain 99p Stores is rumoured to be selling the company for between GBP500m (US$778m) and GBP600m.

The Independent on Sunday yesterday (22 January) ran a report saying the Lalani family, which founded the chain in 2001, is looking to sell the retailer to a private-equity firm, with Electra Partners at the head of the pack.

Officials at 99p Stores and Electra were not available for immediate comment today. 99p Stores has grown rapidly in recent years, acquiring a number of vacant sites caused by Woolworths plc's collapse in 2008.

The Independent on Sunday report added there was no guarantee the sale will go ahead and potential investors have raised concerns during the due diligence process. It also stated that, if a buyer is found, MD Hussein Lalani and buying director Faisal Lalani may stay at the retailer.