THE Issa brothers are reportedly considering merging Asda with EG Group, which could create a business empire worth more than £26billion.

According to reports in Bloomberg, the duo, whose business started with a single petrol station in Bury are considering a range of options, one of which would see supermarket chain Asda and EG Group brought together under a single company.

The two businesses have already been working closely together since Mohsin and Zuber Issa took over Asda alongside partners TDR Capital as part of a £6.8billion deal.

An EG Group statement said: “Key commercial initiatives between EG and Asda are already well under way including the development of plans to introduce foodservice at Asda locations and the expansion of Asda’s convenience offering.

"Both companies have confirmed their intention to roll-out the Asda On the Move proposition across EG’s UK forecourts.

"These plans remain unchanged, and the company continues to anticipate synergies as a result of its growing relationship with Asda.”

Until now, Asda had been owned by the brothers and TDR as part of a separate company from Blackburn headquartered EG Group.

But the two retail giants have formed strong links in recent months with the brothers and their employees drawing up plans to expand foodservice at Asda locations and roll out ‘Asda On the Move’ convenience stores across EG Group filling stations.

This comes after reports last month claiming that EG Group had pulled out of its planned £750million acquisition of Asda's forecourt business.

The £26billion merger, if pursued, would instead merge the entirety of the businesses creating one of the largest retail operations in the UK with stores ranging from small takeaway outlets to major supermarkets.

According to industry specialists including the Retail Gazette, the merger would also give EG Group greater bargaining power with suppliers and put it in a better position to compete with other retail giants.