Troubled sportswear retailer JJB has attracted expressions of interest from more than 10 parties, it is understood.
A variety of potential trade and private equity bidders received information about JJB Sports on Monday.
First round offers are expected over the next week and a data room has been set up for possible buyers, the Financial Times reported.
Jon Moulton’s Better Capital, French retail giant Decathalon and former JJB owner Dave Whelan are understood to have entered the race to buy the 180-store retailer, alongside turnaround investment firm OpCapita and the retailer’s largest shareholder, Invesco Asset Management.
People close to the situation said speculation of an administration as early as this week was inaccurate and that JJB’s lenders are expected to support the retailer through the sale process.
There have been suggestions the business could be sold through a pre-pack administration, enabling JJB to shed loss-making stores.
JJB Sports was put up for sale last Thursday, when it appointed KPMG to handle the process, after dismal trading.
Shareholder Bill Gates is among investors facing a loss - in his case £20m - as a result of JJB’s difficulties, with the sportswear retailer warning investors its shares could be worthless.