Waterstones owner Elliott Advisors is in the running to buy the Body Shop as it submitted an indicative offer to acquire the health and beauty retailer, Sky News reported.

The investment firm is one of the bidders for the UK bath and body retailer after owners Natura & Co said it is ”exploring strategic alternatives” including a possible sale of the business.

Elliott Advisors owns Barnes & Noble and Waterstones, and has backed Claire’s, the fashion accessories chain. It has recently been in the headlines for activist campaigns against the boards of some of the world’s biggest companies.

At the time of writing, it was unclear if Elliott remained in contention to buy The Body Shop

The auction is being handled by Morgan Stanley and a provisional agreement on a sale is likely by the end of next month.

The news comes following Natura’s sale of luxury brand Aesop in April this year, which it said would “strengthen its finances” and allow it to “focus on strategic priorities”, including building The Body Shop business.

The Body Shop has 10,000 employees across 3,000 stores in around 70 countries, according to its website, but is struggling with declining profits.