Australia's largest retailer Coles Myer had admitted that it has been approached by “parties” interested in making a bid for the group.

In a statement released yesterday, the retailer, which has more than 1,900 stores across Australia and New Zealand, said: “Coles Myer said today that it had been approached on behalf of parties wishing to hold discussions regarding the company's ownership.”

It added: “The board will consider any bona fide proposals which might be put to it by those parties.”

Reports suggest that private equity groups Carlyle, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and CVC Asia Pacific could be interested in Coles Myer.

Further reports value any takeover at AUS$16bn (£6.4bn).

It follows reports earlier this month that US retail giant Wal-Mart is interested in entering the Australian market.

The news overshadowed the release of Coles Myers' full-year sales to 30 July, in which the retailer revealed group annual sales up 5.7% at AUS$34.4bn and a 3.5% increase in like-for-like sales.