Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz and private equity firm Apax, the owners of Somerfield, are reportedly at loggerheads over whether to sell the supermarket chain.

Tchenguiz is keen to press ahead with a sale but Apax is prepared to put the sale on hold if it does not achieve a decent price, according to The Times.

Somerfield is believed to be holding out for bids in the range of £2bn to £2.5bn but only the Co-operative Group has submitted a proposal to buy the chain, which does not come close to the valuation, the report added.

“The price is coming down, but they don't seem to have figured that out yet,” a source told the paper.