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Market Watch

FINANCE

BID RUMOURS are swirling around maintenance contractor Enterprise again.

Gossip began flitting between the dealing rooms a few weeks ago that the firm is the target for private equity with acquisitive Australian investment bank, Macquarie, the most repeated name in the frame.

The talk is that a bid of 525p per share could emerge and this prompted heavy trading volumes.

Nearly 23 million Enterprise shares were traded last week and the stock was marked up 15.75p.

There were similar volumes in McCarthy & Stone as the bid saga for the UK's biggest retirement builder rolled on.

McStone has agreed a £10 per share deal with Mars Bidco, a vehicle for private equity groups Permira and Barclays Capital.

Since then a consortium led by the billionaire Reubens brothers has countered with a £10.30 offer that has been rejected by McStone's board due to a break fee clause in the original deal.

As McStone look set to exit the market, another company has joined the ranks of quoted house builders.

Ross Home Builders concentrates on brownfield sites in Northern Ireland and expects to make a £937,000 pre-tax profit on £3.6 million turnover in the year to November 2006.

Venture capitalists 3i, which has backed a number of construction buyouts, has taken a 7.9 per cent stake in Ross. The company got away on AIM last Friday with the shares starting at 0.6p but r ising to 1.05p.