The American private equity firm’s announcement follows a statement from WPP’s Martin Sorrell last week saying the PR and advertising company was planning an offer.
Dunnhumby, which is currently owned by Tesco, could fetch the beleaguered supermarket chain up to £2bn as it seeks to restructure and reduce its debt.
Tesco’s restructuring has already seen it break up its entertainment arm Blinkbox, selling off the music and movie streaming parts to Guvera and TalkTalk respectively, and closing the ebook side of the business
Silver Lake came to prominence when it bankrolled a $24bn (£16bn) takeover of computer company Dell in 2013 and holds substantial investments in Skype and Alibaba.
Tesco looks set to start the auction next month with several other firms, such as Dubilier & Rice, expressing an interest
Any takeover of Dunnhumby is unlikely to be clear cut, as the company has close ties with several retail chains, with its second biggest customer listed as US supermarket chain Kroger.