Internet giant Google is reportedly looking to tie up a deal for dunnhumby – the consumer data firm currently being touted for sale by its owner, Tesco.

Sky News claims that a purchase could be made by Google in partnership with Permira, the global investment firm with a long track record in supporting tech companies around the world. 

One of its most notable purchases in this space involved that of NDS Group, which was subsequently offloaded to Cisco for $5 billion.

Dunnhumby represents a slightly different proposition to the pay TV services provider, specialising in the mining of shopping data to help retailers glean insights about their customers and personalise their experiences accordingly.

Pricing up 

Reports suggest that Google is looking to the deal as a way of strengthening its data analysis capabilities, but even one of the world’s biggest tech outfits, combined with the financial clout of Permira, won’t prevent stiff competition from other parties.  

Media agency giant WPP Group is said to be interested in striking a deal for dunnhumby through a link-up with growth equity firm General Atlantic Partners.   

Analysts speaking earlier this year suggested £2 billion as a good price for snapping up dunnhumby. However, debates over a value raged on, with some believing the business to be worth below the £1 billion mark.

Adding to the equation is a decline in Tesco’s own profits and sales throughout 2014, which might force the supermarket into a quick sale.