Shares soared on Friday on news of the approach for Laing.

Laing has confirmed that a preliminary bid has been made for the company. Shares rose 16% to a record high on Friday’s news reaching 341p at close.

The group did not comment on the identity of the mystery bidder but analysts suggested that an overseas property group such as Bouygues would be interested in the PFI specialist.

Analysts said that a financial or private equity group could also be attracted by Laing’s PFI portfolio. Laing has 48 PFI projects worth £335m and owns Chiltern Railways.

Analysts said that bidders would have to pay between 350p and 400p to win control of the group. Laing announced in August that half-year profits rose £900,000 to £13.8m.