Wal-Mart Stores has remained quiet on reports that it is looking to expand its presence in Brazil by acquiring Carrefour‘s operations in the country.

The retailer declined to confirm Reuters reports today (12 August) that say it has hired UBS as an advisor to help it explore a potential bid for the chain.

The reports follow an article in Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico on Tuesday that claimed executives from Wal-Mart’s US headquarters had held talks with Carrefour officials over a possible deal.

Late last year, Doug McMillon, chief executive of Wal-Mart’s international operations, said the retailer planned to focus its overseas expansion in China, Brazil and Mexico as growth in its US home market has faltered.

Earlier this year, Carrefour was in talks to merge its Brazilian operations with CBD, the country’s largest retailer.

However, the plan proved controversial and was only supported by one of CBD’s two investors, Brazilian tycoon Abilio Diniz. CBD’s other co-owner, French retailer Casino, hit out at the plan, labelling it illegal and hostile.

Casino claimed that a 2005 deal with Diniz meant that it was due to become the sole controlling shareholder in CBD, which is also known by its trading name of Grupo Pao de Acucar, next year.

Diniz withdrew the proposal after the Brazilian national development bank decided not to fund the deal in the face of Casino’s opposition.

Carrefour operates almost 250 stores in Brazil, while Wal-Mart operates 484 in the country.