Wyevale Garden Centres owner Terra Firma is mulling over a sale of the business after four years of ownership, according to reports.

The private equity house, headed up by Guy Hands, could rake in around £700m from a deal and has already been approached by a number of potential buyers, The Sunday Times reported.

It is understood that Terra Firma, which counts former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King as its vice-chairman, has also held talks with advisers including Goldman Sachs to launch an auction.

Terra Firma declined to comment.

Wyevale, which employs around 6,000 staff, was acquired by Terra Firma for £276m in 2012.

The retailer’s operating profit surged 55% to £34.1m in the year to December 28 2014 after what it dubbed a “transformational year”.

Sales grew 5% to £290.4m during the period, as EBITDA jumped 31.4% to £56.1m.

During the 12-month period, Wyevale kicked off a store improvement programme across the group, improving its category mix across several branches, and completed the acquisition of nine garden centres.

Simon Quinton-Smith, of garden centre and horticultural property consultants Quinton Edwards, said: “The portfolio has been extensively refurbished by Wyevale but there remain number of interesting asset management opportunities that could be progressed by a potential new owner.”