It is looking increasingly likely that Tesco will be drawn into a bidding war for Dobbies after it emerged that one of its major shareholders, Sir Tom Hunter, is in talks with rival retailers, including Marks & Spencer.
According to City sources, Scotland's richest man has held preliminary talks to try and 'scupper' the grocery chain's £156m takeover.
Retailers reportedly believed to be in talks are Waitrose, Sainsbury's, and Marks & Spencer with his acquisition vehicle, West Coast Capital and Icelandic investment group Baugur.
Sir Tom Hunter has a 10.6% stake in Dobbies, and has spent £23.6m on home shopping garden company Flying Brands. In April last year he completed a £311m takeover of Wyevale Garden Centres.
Sir Tom began his career selling shoes from a van before building up the Sports Division Chain, which he sold to JJB Sports. He has an estimated personal fortune of £780m.
West Coast Capital, has three partners, says the website: two founding partners Sir Tom Hunter and Jim McMahon; and Paul Davidson – all of whom have extensive networks of contacts, potential co-venturers and advisors.