Asda could return to UK ownership for the first time in 20 years after a group comprising the billionaire Issa brothers and TDR Capital emerged as frontrunners to buy the supermarket.
It is understood the Blackburn-based brothers and the private equity firm have been named as preferred bidders.
Asda has been owned by US giant Walmart since 1999.
Walmart is selling a majority stake in Asda after a merger with Sainsbury’s was blocked on competition grounds.
A deal with the consortium could value Asda at £6.5bn according to Sky News, which first reported the story, although it has not been finalised.
The auction for the supermarket has been narrowed down to two bidders: the consortium comprising TDR, Mohsin and Zuber Issa and US private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
Walmart – which declined to comment – will continue to hold a minority stake in Asda.
Asda already has a relationship with Mohsin and Zuber Issa through EG Group, their petrol forecourt business.
The supermarket recently announced its expansion into convenience stores and will initially trial “Asda On the Move” at three of EG Group’s fuel station forecourts in Ashby, Leamore and Primley in the Midlands.
A spokesperson for Apollo Global Management declined to comment. TDR declined to comment.