In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Australia's struggling number two grocery chain Coles Myer confirmed that "it had been approached on behalf of parties wishing to hold discussions regarding the company's ownership," news that sent the company's share price rocketing.

The Coles board said that it would consider "any bona fide proposals" but simultaneously emphasised it's commitment to the new strategic direction the company is taking. The board told the ASX that it is: "confident this [new direction] will create significant value for shareholders."

The announcement that Coles would undertake a major rebranding and launch a new business structure two-weeks ago was overshadowed by rumours that Wal-Mart was eyeing acquisition of the supermarket chain as a potential route into Australia.

While unwilling to comment on such speculation, Ray Bracy of Wal-Mart's international office told just-food: "We have been looking at international growth for a number of years, both through Greenfield and bolt-on acquisitions."

Analysts have also speculated that the bid could have originated from private equity firms such as KKR or Texas Pacific.

Following the announcement, shares in Coles Myer increased 11.97% to close at AUD13.04 (US$9.99) today (17 August).