SHARES in WS Atkins were up nearly 18 per cent on Monday after the ailing support services group confirmed an offer had been made for the business.
The firm said in a statement: 'Atkins confirms that it has received a preliminary approach to acquire the company.
'Atkins is resolving the issues facing the company and remains committed to restoring shareholder value. Shareholders will be kept informed of any relevant developments.'
The bid, reputedly for 132p per share, sent Atkins' price up to 109.5p, valuing the group at £110 million.
Venture capitalist firm Electra Partners is believed to have made an offer before Christmas for the consultant which issued a profits warning in October.
The two biggest shareholders in Atkins are Fidelity International and Deutsche Asset Management, which hold stakes of 8.1 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively.
Another fund manager, M&G Investment, also has a stake of 6.9 per cent.