Sir Philip Green, the retail magnate linked with an approach for Baugur's UK retail interests, has put his interest in the group on hold, according to media reports.

Green, who already controls a swathe of leading high street brands including Topshop and BHS, had been linked with a move for Baugur-owned companies, including Oasis, House of Fraser and food discount chain Iceland. The future ownership of the companies has been thrown into doubt by the economic crisis that has engulfed parent company Baugur.

Green told The Times that he was exploring “one or two” other opportunities alongside Iceland. “We could just as easily back a new concept, a small retail concept, regardless of the climate,” he said.

Green suggested that the nationalisation of a number of Icelandic banks meant it was impossible to say when an acquisition might be concluded.

He said: “It's not clear, regardless of what you wany to buy, if anyone is in a position to deliver anyway. When you turn up at a bank and find a policeman rather than a bank manager, it's quite difficult.”