The John Lewis retail group is presently 100% owned by its staff.
Its chair, Sharon White, is in the early stages of exploring a plan to change the retailer’s partner structure so it can try to raise between £1bn and £2bn of new investment, the Sunday Times reported.
The partnership model means John Lewis is unable to raise equity and has instead been forced to sell bonds. It already has £1.7bn of debt on its books.
Its finance director, Bérangère Michel, is said to have raised the topic of selling a stake at a meeting late last year and plans have since been developed by Dame Sharon according to the Sunday Times, which first reported the proposals.
It is not clear how the partnership would manage any demand by an investor for a financial return, such as a dividend.
The company, which runs John Lewis department stores and supermarket Waitrose, said on Friday it would have to cut staff numbers and scrap bonuses this year.