Materials firm hires advisers to defend it against potential takeover approaches

Materials giant Wolseley has asked City advisers to defend it against a potential takeover approach, according to reports over the weekend.

The company, which has a market value of £3.5bn, has reportedly enlisted Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers and UBS to draw up a bid defence following a 60% slump in its share price during the last year.

Chip Hornsby, Wolseley group chief executive

The company has been hit by the housing market downturns in the UK and the US.

Wolseley is not thought to have received any takeover approaches, however the move would suggest that some of its board regard it as vulnerable to a potential takeover.