One of the South West's most successful practices has secretly launched a bid to find a practice that will either buy the business or merge with the office.
It is understood that Bristol-based Niall Phillips Architects is determined to find a practice that will be able to provide a cash injection to fund rapid growth.
The AJ has learnt that the move by the 14 person-strong practice - which is known for its work renovating and working with historical and listed buildings - was triggered by a perceived problem recruiting architects in the area.
A source close to the practice said that the hunt for a financial deal was also based on a growth strategy.
'They are effectively seeking to grow - they have been attempting to recruit for some time but have not been able to find the people,' the source said last week.
'They want to be able to get bigger jobs in the same fields as they are working in now,' the source added.
It is currently unclear whether or not there is an imminent deal in the pipeline.
Among the projects that have boosted Niall Phillips' reputation over the last decade is the £1.4 million Secret Hills Discovery Centre in Shropshire. by Ed Dorrell