The UK's third largest retailer Sainsbury's was said yesterday (25 February) to be days away from receiving an GBP11bn (US$21.58bn) takeover approach from a private equity consortium that has been circling the group for weeks.

Private equity groups CVC Capital, KKR and Blackstone are reportedly preparing to approach Sainsbury's with an indicative bid by the end of the week. The consortium is said to be struggling to reach an agreement on the value of the supermarket chain, but according to one report it is considering launching a bid at 550 pence per share.

Sainsbury's told just-food that it is business as usual at the retailer, which is adopting a "wait and see" approach. "We have remained focused on delivering shareholder value and customer service. The speculation surrounding a possible bid has not changed this," a spokesperson said.

Other potential bidders are rumoured to include private equity groups Apax, Texas Pacific Group and Cinven while trade buyer Marks and Spencer is also thought to be a potential suitor.

Sainsbury's shares had risen to 527 pence at time of press, having increased substantially from the 455 pence that they were trading at before takeover rumours surfaced at the beginning of the month.