The quoted residential investor run by Rupert Dickinson saw its shares jump 8% this morning, valuing it at £788m

Capital & Regional (+7%), Workspace Group (+3.6%), Unite (+2.7%) and Quintain (+1.7%) also saw their shares rise, as the market speculated that they could also become takeover targets.

Analysts have suggested that companies that do not convert to being tax-transparent REITs and remain quoted property companies that pay tax will suffer in comparison.

Grainger, which owns around £1.8bn of residential assets, said in a statement to the Stock Exchange this morning: ‘The board of Grainger can confirm that it has received a preliminary approach from a party expressing an interest in formulating an offer for the company. No terms have been indicated nor details provided.’

The statement was made after Grainger’s shares shot up 26p, or 4.9%, to 559p yesterday. This morning they surged a further 45p to 604p, which is in line with the net asset value that analysts are forecasting for the end of September.

Analysts suggested a private equity buyer was the most likely. ‘Within the sector there is no obvious strategic ally or bidder for this,’ said Mike Prew of Lehman Brothers.

Grainger is run by Rupert Dickinson, who owns around 1% of the company’s shares. The biggest shareholder is non-executive director Robert Hiscox, chairman of insurancer company Hiscox, with 7.3%. Schroders has 7.1%, Taube Hodson Stonex 6% and Aberforth Partners 5%.