Dolphin Bathrooms owner Sun European Partners has held early discussions with Bathstore over a potential acquisition of the business.

Bathstore owner Wolseley put the 170-store chain up for sale when it appointed Catalyst Corporate Finance to handle the process last month.

It is thought the retailer has a price tag of £70m-£90m, although some potentially interested parties have balked at the price.

One told Retail Week that Wolseley was “looking for a pretty big price” and that the owner was “trying to paint a real growth story” and is approaching a lot of private equity houses, including DFS owner Advent International, although it is understood it is unlikely to take a look.

Sun European Partners owns Homeform, which operates Dolphin Bathrooms as well as Moben Kitchens and Sharps Bedrooms.  The private equity firm also owns sofa retailer ScS.

Wolseley bought Bathstore 2003 for an undisclosed sum. The chain notched up £104m turnover and pre-tax profits of £4.5m in the year to 31 July 2009.

Sun European Partners and Advent International declined to comment.