All the Mansell directors signed contracts to remain at the firm but a market source says that Cleaver will probably be gone within months.
Even though Mansell will operate as a stand-alone business, another analyst doesn't believe that Balfour Beatty will need Cleaver to run it. "Philip will stay as long as Balfour Beatty needs him, which I don't think will be that long," said the source.
Mansell chairman, Eric Anstee, and two non-executive directors are expected to leave as a result of the takeover when the offer for Mansell is declared unconditional, which is likely to be this week. No redundancies are expected among the workforce.
Balfour Beatty whipped Mansell away from under the nose of a Middle Eastern joint venture. It entered negotiations several months after its rival but its offer of £42m was £2m greater than the consortium.
The offer means that Mansell becomes part of a listed company, which will please its private and institutional investors as it means they will be able to realise some of their shareholdings. This could have been done if Mansell had gone public but a large pension deficit of £60m prevented them from doing so. If Mansell had floated the pension deficit would have meant that no dividends could have been paid out – and this would have reduced the value of the company to the point that it wouldn't have been worth floating.
From Balfour Beatty's point of view, the takeover makes sense. It claims that there is a good fit because of the two companies' different markets. A spokesperson for Balfour Beatty said that its average projects are worth £11-12m and last two years, while Mansell's average project last six months and has a £1m value.
For Mansell the deal means that it has access to Balfour Beatty projects – fit-outs on the larger company's PFIs would be a likely target for Mansell.
Cleaver and Balfour Beatty are tight-lipped about any plans for Cleaver to leave. Cleaver said that the deal was conditional on his signing a contract, and Balfour Beatty released a curt "no comment". When asked about rumours over Cleaver's departure, a spokesperson said: "We have no observation on such speculation."