Permira intends to continue with its bid for WHSmith if it can agree terms with the chain's pension fund trustees.
The trustees stalled the bid when they demanded Permira settle a hole in the pension fund of between£200 million and£250 million. It may delay any bid by up to three weeks.
WHSmith announced on Tuesday that it would cease talks until the position was clear.
It also put its publishing business Hodder Headline up for sale, prompting speculation that the cash raised may be used to plug the pensions hole.