Marks & Spencer and online grocer Ocado are in talking about forming a potential UK retail joint venture, the companies said.
The admission followed weeks of press speculation of a tie-up that could see Ocado becoming Marks & Spencer's new online grocery distributor.
'There is no certainty that these discussions will result in any agreement or as to the timing of any such agreement,' the companies said in separate but identical short statements.
(LON:MKS) Marks Spencer Group PLC share price was +8.6p at 302.3p
(LON:OCDO) Ocado Group Plc share price was +89.8p at 976p