British property firm Minerva Plc has emerged as the bidder behind a £125 million ($198 million) offer for the UK's fourth-largest department store group Allders Plc.

Minerva already holds around 25 per cent of Allders, and says it has agreed on the principal terms of a possible offer at a price of around 160 pence per share. Shareholders would also receive a 4.4 pence a share dividend, making the total payment around 164.4p - 33 per cent ahead of Wednesday's closing share price.

If the move is successful it will mark Minerva's first foray into retail ownership.

"Discussions are at a very early stage and no assurance can be given that any offer will be made for Allders," Minerva said in a statement.

It added that an offer would be made through a new company, which would be majority owned by Minerva, but financed mainly by an unnamed financial institution.