Malcolm Walker, the founder and CEO of UK frozen-food retailer Iceland Foods, has offered GBP1bn (US$1.6bn) to buy back the chain, according to reports.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Walker and other management already own around 24% of Iceland, with the remaining 76% owned by Landsbanki and Glitnir, two of collapsed Icelandic banks.

The report said the banks have already rejected Walker’s offer, saying they were not interested in selling to the current management at GBP1bn.

The report also claimed that another unknown party, which has been described as an investment fund, last week launched a bid of up to GBP1.4bn for Iceland.

It is understood that Walker approached the Icelandic banks around four months ago and that he has bank, rather than private equity, backing for the deal.