Iceland has denied reports that chief executive Malcolm Walker has signed a deal with Deutsche Bank to finance a bid for the discounter.

The Sunday Times reported that Walker had signed a deal with the investment bank, but said it was not known for how much.

It also suggested that while Walker has held talks with private equity firms about preparing a joint bid, Walker’s preference is to use bank and bond financing.

However, a spokesman for Iceland said “Malcolm Walker has not signed up Deutsche Bank or anyone else to provide financing.”

Walker currently owns around 23% of Iceland and has the right to match any offer that competitors may bid for the business.

Morrisons appointed Credit Suisse to advise it on a potential bid earlier this month while Asda is also being linked with a bid.

Sainsbury’s is understood to only be interested in a handful of Iceland stores.

It is believed that the bidding process will start in September. Analysts predict that the chain could fetch a price of £1.5bn.