Hands confirmed his interest in the Garden Centre Group, being sold by Lloyds Banking Group. Bankers expect the UK retailer to fetch £250m-£275m, and it has attracted big buyout firms including Terra Firma and Apax.
Hands said: "There was a survey that was done in the UK which says that the average Brit prefers to shop than have sex.
"So we see gardens centres as part of the British psyche and something that is pretty essential to the UK.
"They are very capital intensive - they have a lot of assets in them and we think that there are ways to make them more attractive."
Apax owns Nordic garden centre group Plantasjen and is also in the running.
Second round bids are due by the end of November.