A bid for Safeway by US investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) would be subject to approval by EU competition regulators rather than the UK’s office of fair trading, according to a report in a UK newspaper.

This would put KKR at a disadvantage in the bidding battle for the UK supermarket chain because KKR would only be able to make a submission to the European Commission once it had made a formal, binding bid for Safeway rather than submit an indicative offer, the Independent reports.

KKR, which is understood to be confident that it will not face any problems with the competition regulators, would have to go through Brussels due to the scale of its European interests.