Sainsbury has entered exclusive talks to buy convenience and CTN chain TM Retail with a deal expected to be concluded in the next few weeks.
City sources close to the negotiations said Sainsbury had always been the frontrunner among bidders for the chain.
TM Retail was put up for sale by its financial backers Montagu Private Finance and Electra Partners in 2002. It is priced at between £200m and £250m, sources report.
The chain operates 1,201 Martin’s, McColl’s and Forbuoys stores, most of which are CTNs.