Philip Green is to push the takeover panel for a ruling on whether rival bidders could make conditional offers for Safeway in response to a formal bid by his investment vehicle Trackdean.
The Sunday Telegraph said Green could delay any bid until the Competition Commission completes its inquiry on August 12 or even pull out altogether.
The paper said Green does not want to spend some £20m on a formal bid if he does not have a clear run. And that he was also in a dispute with Safeway over access to confidential information. The supermarket will not be make any more information available until Green has agreed to meet up and provide a copy of his own plans for the group.

The takeover bid for Somerfield launched by John Lovering and Bob Mackenzie has hit a snag as Sainsbury has admitted it was reconsidering its interest in buying about 200 stores from the deal.
The Business said Irish supermarket operator Musgrave, which owns Budgens, along with Waitrose and Marks and Spencer, could be interested in picking up parts of the Somerfield estate.

The Sunday Express reported that the Big Food Group which owns frozen food chain Iceland is being stalked by several venture capitalists, according to City sources. Consolidation in the UK supermarket sector makes the group vulnerable to a bid, with venture capital KKR and Icelandic retailer Baugur, which has a 22% stake in BFG are possible bidders, the paper said.