The company said it was looking for a buyer for its healthcare division, which includes brands such as Nurofen and Strepsils.
However, retail arm Boots the Chemists is understood to be courted by venture capitalist firms including Blackstone, Texas Pacific, Cinven and Debenhams owner CVC Capital Partners.
Press reports value the Boots group at£1.25 billion. Shares in the company shot up from about 315p last Thursday to 334.5p at the close of business on Friday, even though the retailer warned on profits for the second time this year. It has continued to rise this morning, although at a slower rate.