Coles Myer, Australia's second-largest retailer, has confirmed that it has received a takeover approach from unnamed parties, with US buyout specialists rumoured to be showing interest in the company.

Shares in the company leapt as the news was confirmed. "In line with its fiduciary duties, the board will consider any bona fide proposals which might be put to it by those parties," said Coles Myer.

"The board and management are committed to and focused on implementing the company's new strategic direction announced two weeks ago, and are confident this will create significant value for shareholders."

There has been speculation that US buyout specialist Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co or Newbridge Capital, the Asian arm of Texas Pacific, might be ready to table a bid for the retailer.

But analysts are surprised at the speed with which a takeover bid has been launched. They expect any bid to be in the region of A$15bn (US$11.5bn).