A break-up of Kingfisher Group is on the agenda following last week’s announcement that Gerry Murphy, its chief executive, will leave the company next February with a £2m pay-off. Sunday Times

City sources familiar with group strategy say that all options are on the menu, including a possible break-up, which could see the company separated into its constituent parts comprising the core UK B&Q business, Castorama in France, a 20% stake in Hornbach (the leading German DIY chain) and the B&Q operations in Asia.

Executing a break-up would be no easy task. After all, it is hard to imagine an American group such as Home Depot making an offer right now given the problems in the US housing market.

Meanwhile, private equity firms would struggle to raise debt finance to fund a deal. Furthermore, they would need to take a brave and counter-intuitive view on prospects for the UK housing market to table a bid.