Rumours have surfaced that Nisa-Today's is due to discuss the sale of up to 50% of the business to a third party with venture capitalist backing.

Nisa-Today's confirmed that an extraordinary meeting of the holdings board takes place on May 10, but a spokeswoman would not disclose the agenda.

Sources close to the board claim a proposal will be put forward to sell shares in a large portion of the business.

Some have suggested that a similar deal to Musgrave's purchase of Londis in 2004 is in the offing, with Costcutter being the driving force, which could be couched in terms of a merger with Nisa-Today's. If the business were then to be built up and floated, holders of significant amounts of shares would stand to gain, said a source.

If agreed, the move would still have to be ratified by Nisa-Today's shareholders, which amount to hundreds of wholesalers and retailers, who all hold a roughly equal stake in what is a mutual company.