The Co-operative Group has today (17 April) confirmed that it is in takeover talks with Somerfield, describing the convenience store operator as a “good strategic fit”.

“We are engaged in negotiations with Somerfield. We view this business as a good strategic fit,” a spokesperson for the company told just-food.

Negotiations between the two companies began after the Co-Op emerged as the only potential suitor to table a formal bid for the whole business, as just-food reported earlier this month.

Somerfield, which runs over 900 convenience stores in the UK, put itself up for sale in January after receiving approaches for the company.

The groups owners – a consortium made up of Robert Tchenguiz, Apax Partners and Barclays Capital – are believed to be looking for up to GBP2.5bn (US$4.9bn) for the chain. However, it is understood that the Co-op and Somerfield have been unable to agree on the price.

The Co-op declined to comment on the specifics of the negotiations or reports that the talks had hit a deadlock.