Retail billionaire Philip Day is said to think a deal for Dobbies would help diversify his Edinburgh Woollen Mill empire, which includes the high street budget fashion retailer Peacocks.
Midlothian-based Dobbies, whose 35 UK sites include stores in Aberdeen and Inverness, was bought by former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy in 2008, but made a £48 million loss last year.
New Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis used investment bank Greenhills to sound out potential buyers last month as he seeks to focus on core supermarket trading.
Other interested parties in Dobbies are understood to include Wyevale Garden Centres, owned by Terra Firma, the private equity firm. Other Tesco assets expected to be sold include Giraffe restaurants.