In an interview with Building last year, Taylor Woodrow chief executive Iain Napier wondered aloud about the fate of the medium-sized housebuilder. His chilling conclusion was that they "could be lunch for someone else".
Now speculation is mounting in the City of London that Taywood is preparing to fulfil its own prophesy by gobbling up Wilson Connolly. One source in the financial community has even hinted that a formal announcement to the stock exchange could be made as early as next week, when Wilson Connolly's interim results come out.

However, it has also been rumoured that Wilson Connolly was not Taywood's first choice. An industry source suggested that Crest Nicholson had been on the menu, but that property developer Gerald Ronson got there first (see Sharewatch, page 20).

The source said: "Common sense says that Taylor Woodrow wants to do a deal. Common sense says that Crest Nicholson is out of the frame – Ronson has pushed that to an enormous premium. The only other housebuilder that looks to be up for sale is Wilson Connolly."

Wilson Connolly chief executive Graeme McCallum was profiled in the Financial Times earlier this month, which rival housebuilders took as a sign that the company was on the market.

Any deal would be subject to approval by the Wilson family, which has a stake of about 20% in the company.

A spokesperson for Wilson Connolly said: "The company is announcing its interims next week and is looking forward to updating the market on its progress, but it doesn't comment on speculation and won't comment on rumours doing the rounds over the last days and weeks."

A Taylor Woodrow spokesperson said: "Our policy is never to comment on speculation; we neither confirm nor deny."

In his intereview, Napier made no bones about his ambitions: "Housebuilding is a sector with too many participants," he said. If he gets his way, it may soon have one fewer.