Senior executives from McColl's, which is supplied by Nisa, met with Sainsbury's officials on Friday to discuss the potential deal. McColl's currently accounts for almost 40 per cent of Nisa's sales, but could wrap up its contract with the mutual group and strike a new one with Sainsbury's or another big player like the Co-Operative.
Nisa has multiple contracts with McColl's, one of which ends as early as next year, while others run through to 2020. A new supply deal between Sainsbury's and McColl's could be worth up to £2bn.
Although McColl's is Nisa's largest customer, the £130m offer tabled by Sainsbury's is not thought to be dependent on a continuing contract with McColl's. But some observers have questioned whether the price tag for Nisa could be considered too steep without the income from McColl's.
The news comes off the back of suggestions by City analysts that McColl's could be another target for acquisition as supermarkets battle to gain control of convenience stores.
Nisa became an attractive prospect after the Booker merger with Tesco prompted rivals to consider other ways to control the supply chain. This week the member-owned organisation unveiled that a turnaround plan delivered profit of £2.8m for the year to April 2017, compared to a loss of £5.4m in the same period last year.
Meanwhile Sainsbury's will hold its AGM this Wednesday amid calls from Pensions and Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) for shareholders to oppose the company's remuneration policy saying the potential for executive pay to reach 500 per cent of salary was "excessive".
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We consult with shareholders on a regular basis and are confident that our remuneration policy is appropriately set and encourages long-term shareholder value creation.”
In a report released ahead of the AGM, PIRC also advised voting against the re-election of chairman David Tyler on the grounds that he is also chairman of Hammerson and "should focus his attention onto only one FTSE 350 company."