Sainsbury's has announced four profit warnings this year and has been losing market share. Its poor performance has fuelled speculation that private equity groups are circling the retailer. In the past week, city financier George Magan, and former Asda bosses Archie Norman and Allan Leighton have been linked to a potential bid.
Morgan Stanley had previously advised Marks & Spencer against Philip Green's£9.1 million bid. Sainsbury's is to retain its existing corporate broking advisers, investment banks UBS and Goldman Sachs.
Last week, Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King outlined his turnaround strategy for the grocer. He said he plans to focus on improving availability and restoring Sainsbury's reputation for quality food.