Autobacs Seven, Japan's largest car accessories retailer, purchased 11 million shares from CVC Capital Partners, Halfords' biggest shareholder, for ¥7.5 billion (£35.2 million) yesterday.
A Halfords spokesman would not comment on the likelihood of a tie-up, saying: 'We signed an open-ended deal in July to collaborate with Autobacs to share knowledge and develop product. Although it is early days, we are encouraged by the way that relationship is going.'
High street success story Halfords is valued at£737 million, with a turnover of just over£1 billion.
Since the companies announced their joint venture there has been speculation that Autobacs would like to take the relationship further. There are joint buying teams working together in the Middle East.