Cox shareholder Warburg Pincus is weighing up a plan to buy up Cox shares and withdraw from public listing. Other shareholders including Palamon (10%) are weighing up a similar proposition.

Private equity investor Warburg Pincus already owns 24% of the company. A market analyst said: "It is clear that some of the big investors have been uncomfortable about what has happened to the share price. But if the price drops anymore Warburg is set to buy the remaining shares on the market."

Since Andrew Fisher replaced Neil Utley as chief executive, Cox has been going through a restructuring process. Software subsidiary Brokersure has already been put on the market, with rival Acturis tipped to win the tender process. Sources revealed that HML Marketing and CanDo would be the next companies to be sold off.

A market source said: "Cox will be looking to hold on to its core business - Equity Red Star and Boncaster - and expand on them, but it seems very unlikely it will do that as a publicly-listed company."

As reported in Insurance Times (18 August), Cox has attracted interest from David Gundlach of Hastings Direct and ex-chief executive Utley for a take-over bid.

Both Cox and Warburg Pincus declined to comment.