Retail bosses Paul Mason and Rob Templeman are reportedly set to launch rival £6.5bn bids for supermarket giant Asda.
It comes after Walmart, which owns Asda, is said to have resumed discussions regarding a potential sale for a majority stake in the ‘Big Four’ grocer.
It is thought the potential bids could be launched as early as next month.
Templeman, the former CEO of Debenhams, has previously run Halfords, Homebase and Harveys Furnishing Group, and reportedly has a “long-standing” relationship with Apollo Global Management.
In April last year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked a proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda after finding it would lead to “increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK”.
The merger was said to be worth around £12bn and would have seen the grocer’s leapfrog Tesco as the country’s largest supermarket. However, in its final report the CMA found that UK shoppers and motorists would be “worse off” if Sainsbury’s and Asda were to merge.