Iceland tycoon Malcom Walker is in talks with Goldman Sachs about backing his efforts to retain control of the frozen foods specialist.

Walker, who believes he can raise the necessary funding without recourse to a private equity backer, has held preliminary talks with Goldman Sachs to provide mezzanine finance The Times reported.

Iceland’s majority shareholder, the liquidators of defunct Icelandic bank Landsbanki, hopes to dispose of its 67% stake.

Rival grocers including Asda and Morrisons are thought to be circling, sparking speculation that Iceland could attract a price-tag of as much as £2bn. Walker has the right to match any offer made.

A loan from Goldman Sachs is just one among the options being considered by Walker. Other ideas are the purchase of part of Landsbanki’s stake and private equity support has not been entirely ruled out.

The big grocers are increasingly targeting the smaller store and convenience markets. Tesco and Sainsbury’s are already well established. Last year Asda bought Netto, giving it a smaller store portfolio, and Morrisons is testing the market.

Walker wrote of his determination to retain control of Iceland in last week’s edition of Retail Week. He said: “If that means doing battle with giants, whether of retailing or finance, so be it.”