New Zealand's competition watchdogs have reportedly delayed its decision on Lion Nathan's potential bid for Independent Liquor.

The NZ Commerce Commission has pushed back the deadline for a decision to 25 August, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review over the weekend.

Lion sought regulatory clearance to buy Independent last month, although the company insisted it was not a sign it would make a formal bid.

Analysts have estimated that it would cost A$1.1m (US$818m) to buy Independent Liquor, which appointed UBS to advise it on a potential sale in May.

A sale of the privately-owned company has been mooted since the death of its founder, Michael Erceg, in a helicopter crash last November.