Mike Ashley is understood to be eyeing a 5% stake in Adidas following an acrimonious dispute with the company over football kit sales.
The Sports Direct founder clashed with Adidas over its decision to only allow replica Chelsea FC kits to be sold in its own stores and the official club store.
The move, which will come into effect next year, will exclude all other retailers from selling Chelsea’s replica kit, including Sports Direct, the UK’s largest sports retailer.
In what is being seen as a direct counter-move, Ashley could take a stake in Adidas, which is valued at £15bn, allowing him to pressurise the company as a shareholder.
It is not the first time Ashley has crossed swords with Adidas, which was dropped as the official sponsor of Newcastle United FC in 2009, two years after Ashley bought the club.
If he is successful in acquiring the 5% stake it would be the second time the billionaire has become a shareholder in Adidas. In 2007 Ashley briefly owned a 3% stake in the company, which he sold eight weeks later at a profit.