Iceland chief executive Malcolm Walker will not submit a first-round bid for the supermarket chain.

The move could mean that there is no first-round bid for all of the estate.

Iceland’s majority shareholder, the liquidators of defunct Icelandic bank Landsbanki, hopes to dispose of its 67% stake.

The two most likely trade bidders, Morrisons and Asda, do not want to buy the retailer in its entirety and are vying to buy part of its estate.

Walker is expected to reserve his right to enter the race until a later stage according to The Sunday Telegraph.

The Iceland founder can fall back on a clause in its shareholder agreement which means he only has to match the highest big from a rival in order to win.

He is expected to wait and see who enters the bidding process before submitting his offer.