Knight Vinke, the activist investors with a 20% stake in Kesa, has urged the electricals group not to sell UK chain Comet.

The shareholder fears that a sale would only be possible at a substantial loss and would prefer a demerger and UK listing of Comet instead, The Times reported.

However Kesa chiefs and their advisors believe such a strategy would be impossible because Comet, which lost £26m last year, could not survive outside the group umbrella.

Kesa is assessing in tandem the possible sale of Comet and its own turnaround plans and will decide which option to pursue dependent on likely value to shareholders.

It is thought that if Kesa retains Comet it will seek concessions from landlords. Restructuring such as through a CVA has been ruled out.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is running the potential sale of Comet and sent out information memorandums to interested parties last week.

Private equity and restructuring groups including Better Capital, OpCapita and Hilco are understood to be among those that have expressed interest.