Supermarket Morrisons is considering bidding for garden centre specialists Garden Centre Group, formerly known as Wyevale.
The retailer has asked for sale documents of the group, according to the Mail on Sunday. Any acquisition by Morrisons would put it head-to-head with Tesco, which has owned the Dobbies garden centre chain since 2008.
In April Morrisons revealed it was expanding into the garden centre category, selling products in 30 of its supermarkets. Tesco is not expected to bid for the chain.
Garden Centre Group was put up for sale by its owners Lloyds Banking Group in August. Other interested parties are thought to include private equity firms Bridgepoint and Duke Street Capital.
It is the third time Bridgepoint has considered buying Garden Centre Group, which is expected to be sold for under £300m. The business was bought in 2006 for £445m by a consortium led by Sir Tom Hunter, who then conducted a debt for equity swap with lender Lloyds Banking Group, putting the bank in the driving seat.