Stewart McColl, founder and former chief executive of SMC, could be poised to regain control of the architectural group months after he was ousted.

McColl is understood to have received backing to buy back the company he started, after merger talks with Aukett Fitzroy Robinson collapsed last Friday.

However, one City insider said: “McColl was responsible for the share price halving from 190p. If someone is backing him they need to ensure they put in strong financial people.” Since McColl left, shares have continued to fall. The current price is 17p.

Last month SMC posted a pre-tax loss of £4.5m after a year that left it with more than £18m of debt.