Shares in Minerva rose 8.5p to 28.75?p amid a whirlwind of rumours. While all are feasible, none are expected to materialise soon. One theory was that a suitor was preparing a bid for the group. Minerva has been linked with several groups before, including Kifin, the investment vehicle of Nathan Kirsh, a little-known South African investor, who has built up a 29% stake in the company.

Another rumour had it that Minerva had managed to let out its Walbrook development, perhaps to Bloomberg, the financial news and data group, or Macquarie, the Australian investment group. Market chatter included a suggestion that the group had managed to refinance its debt.

The Times