The owner of Waterstones is reported to be a new contender in the £100 million battle for Majestic Wine’s 200-strong retail estate.

Elliott Advisors, described as a “US activist advisor”, is up against other potential buyers including Fortress (the investment group owned by Japan’s SoftBank) and private equity group OpCapita.

Elliott recently acquired American bookseller Barnes & Noble for £534 million) and in April 2018 it bought a majority stake in UK bookstore chain Waterstones. It also has a stake in Pernod Ricard.

Majestic had confirmed it was considering a sale of its retail business in May, with plans to focus more on its online wine arm, Naked Wines.

Majestic’s chief executive, Rowan Gormley, is due to update the City tomorrow on its strategic plans for the business, and he is expected to confirm that a sale of the store estate is the company’s preferred option.