Four investors have made bids for a majority stake in Slovenian retailer Mercator, according to a statement from Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), Slovenia's largest bank.

The twelve owners of Mercator, which include the bank, received four non-binding bids for their joint 52.1% of the retailer by the Monday (17 October) deadline.

NLB said three bids were made by financial investors and one by a strategic investor. Numerous financial media have reported that the strategic investor is believed to be Croatian food producer and retailer Agrokor.

However, a spokesperson from Agrokor said: "Unfortunately at this time we can still not confirm if we have or have not submitted a bid on Mercator. Articles in the newspapers are pure speculation."

Media in Slovenia say Agrokor offered EUR221 per Mercator share, which would value the whole company at EUR832m ($1.1bn).

Mercator itself yesterday continue its expansion with an announcement that it plans to take over the trade operations of Bosnian firm Dvropromet.