The reports claim that property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz could announce a formal bid for the group at Somerfield’s annual meeting later this week.
Tchenguiz is part of a consortium, which includes Apax Partners and Barclays Capital, bidding for Somerfield.
However, separate reports suggest that a rival consortium consisting of Nomura and London & Regional Properties is finalising its bid and could table an offer this month.
The reports said that the consortium is talking to United Co-operatives about a deal that could see the Co-op purchase 500 Somerfield stores from the consortium if its bid is successful.
In June United Co-operatives pulled out of the bidding race for Somerfield.
Last week Somerfield was told by the Competition Commission that it must sell 12 of the 115 former Safeway stores it acquired from retailer Morrisons because the stores “lead to a significant reduction in competition in their local markets”.