Although that has fallen by the wayside, last week a report in the Evening Standard claimed that merger talks were imminent. However, the story was met with a stony silence; the only statement made by either firm was from Redrow, saying it was hosting a City visit to one of its steel frame factories. One analyst who was on the trip said the topic never came up. "If a deal was imminent, I hardly think one of the firms would be showing 20 analysts round one of their sites," he observed.
The report led to a see-sawing of both firms' shares; they dropped on Friday (both down 5.5p) then improved early this week (Bovis up 2p to 477p, Redrow up 4p to 337.5p).
While we're speculating, there has been talk in construction circles about private contractor Mansell. The firm has been seeking a listing for some time now, but whispers in the market claim it could be prey to a larger contractor. The firm laughed off such suggestions last week but one City source claimed this week that a "large Dutch contractor" is eyeing Mansell. Now, whoever could that be?