Supermarket retailer Sainsbury's is an investment target for a fund established by the Qatar Investment Authority.

The UK company confirmed it has received a preliminary approach from Qatar's Delta Two, which it said "may or may not lead to an offer being made for Sainsbury's".

Delta Two said it is in preliminary discussions with Sainsbury, related to the possibility of increasing its interest in Sainsbury by way of a cash offer to acquire the balance of the ordinary share capital of the company.

Paul Taylor, Principal of Three Delta, which is the strategic investment adviser to Delta Two in relation to the investment, said: "Three Delta is focused on strategic, long-term investments in exceptional businesses, principally in the UK, which have strong incumbent management teams, leading market positions and long-term growth opportunities. All of these criteria are met by Sainsbury.

"Three Delta has a high regard for the board, management and employees of Sainsbury and is supportive of the company's operational strategy. We are very pleased that the Fund, through Delta Two, has made a substantial investment in Sainsbury."

It has been reported by local press that Delta Two, which already owns about 25% of Sainsbury's, could offer around GBP12bn ($24.5bn) for the supermarket group, which sells the TU clothing range in stores throughout the UK.