Paul Taylor, the one-time bricklayer who tried and failed to buy J Sainsbury in 2007, is close to agreeing a property joint venture with a leading City fund manager.
Mr Taylor's vehicle, Three Delta, is understood to have been looking to form a partnership with a fund to buy commercial properties worth at least £50m. Typically, Three Delta would find suitable deals and the fund would manage the investments.
An announcement on an agreement is believed to be imminent.
The move would mark a major return to the public eye after the £10.6bn Sainsbury offer collapsed as a result of the initial turmoil caused by the credit crunch. Mr Taylor made the bid in partnership with sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority.
The parties ended their relationship the following year and Mr Taylor has since maintained a fairly low profile. However, he has made some property developments and hired industry guru Malcolm Le May to Three Delta's advisory board last year.
Mr Taylor declined to comment.