US private equity firm Apollo Global Management has been mulling making a move on Marks & Spencer.

The New-York based company is said to believe M&S is a bargain, and that its joint venture with Ocado, in which it bought a 50% stake for £750m two years ago, has been undervalued by the market.

It is understood that Apollo, which lost out in the race to acquire Asda earlier this year, is still interested in UK supermarkets.

M&S shares have since risen 24% following its upgraded profit forecast, which may have dampened Apollo’s appetite.

There has been some speculation that M&S could also buy out Ocado’s share of its joint venture.

The news comes as M&S boss Steve Rowe nears the end of his expected tenure – senior leaders at the retailer are aware that Rowe believes chief executives should helm a business for between five and eight years.

This expiration date could mean Rowe would leave the high street favourite as soon as 18 months time.

Rowe joined the business at 15 years old as a Saturday boy in its Croydon store and worked his way up to become chief executive in 2016.

Co-chief operating officers Katie Bickerstaffe and Stuart Machin, as well as chief financial officer Eoin Tonge are being groomed for the top job, according to The Times.