Russian retail giant X5 Retail Group has declined to comment on reports it may acquire Moscow-based competitor Seventh Continent.

X5 shares were down 1.97% to $16.38 at the close of business in Russia today (23 September) following reports by Kommersant it could potentially acquire the lease rights for 130 stores in Moscow.

Seventh Continent owner Alexander Zanadvorov is reported to have put Seventh Continent up for sale, as well as the right to lease 130 of its 160 stores for 15 years, the publication noted. He is understood to be seeking at least $2.4bn for the chain, which last year recorded sales of around RUR62.86bn (US$1.97bn).

A spokesperson for X5 told just-food the reports in Russian newspapers about a potential deal were “rumour”. The spokesperson added: “X5 Retail Group is not commenting on rumour in the market”.

Seventh Continent did not return a request for comment.

X5 lost the title of Russia’s largest retailer by revenue this year to its rival Magnit. The retailer, which has expanded mainly through acquisitions, saw its earnings climb in the first half of the year, driven by increased sales from new store openings.