The Takeover Panel warns Castle Bidco consortium that it only has till 12 January to make an offer

The Takeover Panel has told the consortium which is stalking Crest Nicholson that it has until 12 January to either put up or shut up.

In a statement today The Panel said the consortium, known as Castle Bidco and comprising HBOS and West Coast Capital must “either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Crest Nicholson … or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for Crest Nicholson.”

It added that if Castle Bidco missed the deadline it would not be able to make another offer for six months.

On 10 November Crest Nicholson rejected an 585p per share offer from Castle Bidco which valued the housebuilder at £660m.

Castle Bidco made the approach after buying 27% of Crest shares, including the 23.4% stake in the company owned by Gerald Ronson’s property company, Heron International. Heron itself approached Crest last year but that bid was also rejected by the board and Ronson was unsuccessful.