UK supermarket firm Somerfield looks set to become the subject of a bidding war after it said it was entering talks with three parties interested in acquiring the chain for more than £1bn (US$1.89bn).

The three are believed to be Icelandic retailer Baugur, property developers Ian and Richard Livingstone and a consortium made up of property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, buyout firm Apax and Barclays Capital, reported Reuters, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Somerfield is hoping the talks will lead to all three making raised offers for the retailer, which operates the Somerfield and Kwik Save banners. However, the retailer cautioned that there was still no certainty any firm offer would be made.