According to The Guardian today, Gerald Ronson is believed to have arranged financial backing to acquire a large slice of Marks & Spencer’s property portfolio.

The property tycoon is understood to have been working on the plan to buy freeholds and long leaseholds of some of the store chain’s outlets prior to the appointment of Stuart Rose as chief executive.

Mr Ronson’s interest could prove useful for any potential bidder for the company, including Philip Green.

However, at this stage no approach has been made to the company regarding the availability of any property.