The ever-growing SMC Group is in talks to take over Alsop Design, a move that would represent one of the most unexpected financial deals in the architectural world for several years.
The group, which has been hungrily buying up practices for the last three years, looks highly likely to buy out Will Alsop's famous practice.
Rumours of financial 'problems' beset Alsop in recent months, just a year after he was forced to sell 30 per cent of the firm to venture capitalists.
The shock news comes just weeks after the SMC Group, which is listed on the AIM market in the City, snaffled up two more small firms, Ian Penrose Architects and Covell Matthews Architects, for a total of £4.1 million.
The Alsop deal would represent SMC's most important move by far to date, adding the design credibility that the group has so far lacked.
Details of any potential deal are currently sketchy, with representatives of Alsop refusing to comment. by Ed Dorrell