Beverage maker Pivovarna Lasko and investment firm Infond Holding have announced that they intend to sell their jointly-held 48.34% stake in Slovenian retailer Mercator.

The companies said yesterday (4 November) that the sale of the stake in Slovenia's largest food retailer should be completed by the end of March 2009 through an international tender offer.

The announcement came amid reports that UK-based investment vehicle Delta Holding has launched a takeover bid for Mercator.

According to a Reuters report, sources close to the bid revealed that the move comes after last month's collapsed merger talks between Mercator, Delta and Croatia's biggest retailer, Agrokor.

When contacted by just-food, Delta declined to comment on the rumours.

However, in a separate development, Austrian bank Alpe Adria confirmed that it has received three letters of intent to purchase 10% of Mercator. Officials at the bank declined to comment further on the situation.

Mercator, meanwhile, also declined to comment on the speculation sweeping the market.

A spokesperson for the company told just-food that its day-to-day operations would continue "in the best interests of customers" regardless.