UK retail giant Sainsbury's saw its share price rocket this morning (2 February) as private equity investors revealed their interest in the company.

Shares were up 15% to 511.5 pence on the London Stock Exchange, following an announcement from private equity groups CVC, KKR and Blackstone that they are "at the preliminary stages of assessing Sainsbury".

It follows reports yesterday from just-drinks sister site just-food.com that the chain's founding family had sold 40m shares worth around GBP176m (US$346.76m).

The Sainsbury family sold about 2% of the company, reducing its stake to 13.89%.