Japanese giant Fast Retailing, which owns Uniqlo, is mulling a bid for US fashion retailer J Crew, which could value it at $5bn.

It is understood that Fast Retailing has approached the management of J.Crew about buying the business from its private-equity backers.

J Crew owners TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners, which acquired the business for $2.8bn in 2011, is understood to be seeking $5bn the fashion company, according to The Wall Street Journal.

However, it remained unclear whether Fast Retailing would pay that much and whether the two sides have yet discussed a price, the newspaper reported.

Fast Retailing is understood to be facing competition from South Korean fashion conglomerate E.Land Group which is also eyeing the J Crew business.

E.Land is in talks with potential partners, which could include an Asian trading house, for a joint J Crew bid, according to Reuters.

J Crew owners are not necessarily committed to pursuing a sale of the company.

TPG and Leonard Green are in the early stages of exploring exit options and hired Goldman Sachs in January to investigate an IPO.

J Crew has more than 400 stores across the US and Canada, and launched its first UK store on Regent Street last autumn.