Financial sources have branded the takeover approach for White Young Green as “ill-timed”.

They claim the fact Lawrie Haynes, the consultant’s chief executive, only joined a year ago means a private sale would be premature. The sale price is an estimated £200m.

It is understood that the approach was as a surprise to the board and that it came from a US or European consultant. “It would be unusual if it were taken private so soon after appointing a chief executive,” said one source.

They added that WYG’s announcement that it had received an offer could spark private equity interest. It is understood that CCMP Capital is considering making a bid for the firm.