Rio Tinto has hired Deutsche Bank to advise it on a possible bid for Canadian aluminum producer Alcan, the Sydney Morning Herald paper reported on Monday.
Alcan's shares jumped to record highs last week after it rejected a $28.4 billion bid from Alcoa , which would create the world's largest aluminum company, triggering speculation of potential rival bids.
A Canadian press report last week said Alcan was in talks with BHP Billiton as part of its plan to consider alternatives to the Alcoa bid.
However, the Herald said on Monday, citing an unnamed source, that BHP had progressed no further than other companies that had made a preliminary expression of interest.
Along with Rio and BHP, other parties interested in Alcan might include Brazil's CVRD, Anglo American, Xstrata, Russia's Rusal, Chinese groups and possibly private equity, the paper said.
The same groups are likely to be having a look at Alcoa as well, the paper reported.
Rio itself has been the subject of takeover speculation, with its shares hitting record highs earlier this month on rumors of a $100 billion-plus bid from BHP.