Investors confirm they are weighing up an offer
Terra Firma, the private equity group headed by Guy Hands, and the Wellcome Trust have confirmed they are at the early stages of assessing a bid for Alliance Boots.

The two groups have appointed Lehman Brothers as financial adviser on a possible£10 billion-plus offer. In a statement, on behalf of both groups, Terra Firma said: 'No decision has been made regarding the merits of making an offer.'

Alliance Boots turned down a£9.7 billion approach last month from its deputy chairman and 15 per cent shareholder Stefano Pessina, who was backed by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).

Pessina was the driving force behind the creation of Alliance Boots last year, when he merged his wholesale business with the retailer.

However, at the end of last month, Alliance Boots agreed to give KKR and Pessina access to its books, after they raised their initial bid to£10.40 a share, valuing the group at£11.4 billion.