Brunswick Developments, the property company that made two failed bids for Alfred McAlpine last year, is still on the prowl for a major housebuilder.
Andrew Goodall, chief executive of Brunswick, which owns Brighton Marina, said he had held "friendly talks" with two housebuilders this year, one priced at about £100m and the other at £300m. Neither of the deals had come to fruition.

Goodall said he was still looking for a deal at the right price, but indicated that he would be unlikely to bid again for McAlpine.

"We have been looking at pure housebuilders because we don't want a contracting arm," said Goodall. "The biggest problem for anyone wanting to buy McAlpine is that they have to deal with the contracting side and you get a high risk profile with any contractor."

McAlpine recently rejected a £244m approach by Heron International, the property firm run by Gerald Ronson.

It is unclear whether Ronson, who has 12 000 plots in his land bank, will return with a higher offer or turn his attentions elsewhere.