Kohlberg Kravis Roberts pulled out of the battle for Safeway on Monday, reducing the number of suitors to five.
But the US buy-out specialist has kept its options open and may return to the fray.
In a statement, KKR said that it 'has decided for the time being not to progress its potential offer for Safeway any further, but will continue to monitor the situation and keep its position under review.'
As Retail Week went to press Wal-Mart remained the favourite to land Safeway.
As expected, the proportion of Safeway shareholders that accepted the Morrisons offer by the first deadline of last Friday was tiny. Just 0.67 per cent gave it the nod.