Kier has told the London Stock Exchange that it is considering a counterbid for May Gurney after the Norfolk contractor said it was proposing to merge with Costain.
In a statement Kier Group said it “noted” the announcement regarding the proposed merger of May Gurney with Costain Group, adding that it was considering its own offer.
“Kier holds May Gurney in high regard and views it as a good quality support services business with a range of services which complements Kier’s existing offering. Kier believes that a combination of Kier and May Gurney would create significant value for shareholders, establishing a market-leading and well-balanced business. The enlarged group would offer an unrivalled range of services to Local Authorities as well as providing Kier with greater access to the regulated sector,” it said.
“To that end, Kier has made previous attempts to discuss a potential combination with May Gurney and has been monitoring the business’ recent performance.
“In light of the announcement, Kier is considering its options,” it said.
“A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate. There can be no certainty that an offer will be made.”
If Kier does make an offer it would be the second time in three years that Costain has been pulled into a public bidding war. In 2011 its bid for Mouchel unravelled after Interserve pushed the price up.