Housebuilder accepts £715m takeover from consortium led by HBOS and Sir Tom Hunter

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson has accepted a long-awaited £715m takeover bid from the Castle Bidco consortium led by HBOS and Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter.

The consortium had been given a ‘put up or shut up’ deadline of 5pm yesterday, but negotiated a further 24 hours in which to make the deal.

Sir Tom Hunter

The deal is worth 620p a share with the right to retain a dividend of 9.7p a share.

Crest Nicholson chairman John Matthews said: “The acquisition represents good and certain cash value for Crest Nicholson shareholders and reflects fairly the company's current prospects.”

The housebuilder rejected an earlier bid worth £660m from Castle Bidco in December. It posted a 2% rise in pre-tax profit to £80m in January, accompanied by a 1.2% dip in turnover to £690.7m.

Last September, Castle Bidco bought retirement home specialist McCarthy & Stone for £1.1bn. It put a £2bn bid in for housebuilder Wilson Bowden in February, but lost out to Barratt.

The Crest Nicholson bid still has to be approved by holders of 75% of the shares, although Castle Bidco already owns 23% of the company.