A management team is thought to be preparing a bid for Marks and Spencer's 25-store US supermarket operation Kings ­ a chain which was once reputed to be on Tesco's "interested list". Newspapers in the US claim chief executive Alan Levitan is leading the group. The troubled M&S chain announced last week it would be selling all its international operations, including both Kings and the upmarket Brooks Brothers in America, to concentrate on its UK business. This is the second time Levitan and other management members have attempted to buy the group. They were outbid in October 1999 and it was rumoured food wholesaler the Di Giorgio Corp was close to buying Kings. The deal fell through after months of negotiations. One City analyst said: "Marks and Spencer has been in this situation before when it attempted to sell Kings for £120m. "It's now trying to sell it again at a time when the US market is not at its best, and it may well struggle to find buyers. "So a management buyout would not be implausible." An M&S spokeswoman refused to confirm the reports and said there had been no further developments since the group was put up for sale last Thursday. Kings has a strong fresh foods image, and visiting UK traders have consistently likened the chain "more to the Waitrose image than M&S". {{NEWS }}