UK - Sources have confirmed the £30bn (€38bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the second-largest pension scheme in the UK, is set to purchase a number of UK supermarket chain Tesco's largest stores.

News broke over the weekend revealing Tesco was in talks with a major British pension fund to sell the freehold of up to a dozen of its largest stores and then lease the stores back in order to reduce its growing debt.

Tesco is expected to form a 50/50 joint venture with USS for the sale and leaseback deal, which could then raise up to £500m for the supermarket chain.

The huge pension fund has so far allocated 6% of its target allocation of 10% to real estate.

The pension fund also held £220m worth of Tesco shares to 30 June 2008.

No further details are known yet, though USS and Tesco are expected to issue a joint statement in the near future.