Sir Geoff Mulcahy, the tycoon who bought Woolworths in 1982, wants the chance to revive the value chain and save hundreds of jobs according to a report.
Mulcahy, who is the chairman of the British Retail Consortium, has approached administrators of the business, Deloitte to see if he can take on around 500 of the retailers stores.
Mulcahy told The Sun newspaper: "You have around 25,000 staff at Woolworths and there must be a way of trying to save the business. It's late in the day - but there's still a possibility. We're considering a number of options."
Mulcahy is understood to have a management team waiting in the wings that would run the store group and pay off its debts of £380 million.
However, industry sources said Mulcahy's chances of pulling off a deal were slim.
It is understood Deloitte has agreed to sell 50 Woolworths stores to Iceland, the frozen food retailer and has deals in place with a range of supermarkets and value chains for a further 350 stores according to the report.