Gladedale Holdings is set to become the UK’s largest privately owned housebuilder after making an £84m recommended offer for quoted rival Ben Bailey.

The acquisition, which is expected to complete in the next six weeks, will give Gladedale a turnover of about £800m. This will make it the UK’s sixth largest housebuilder and the largest in private ownership.

After the purchase, the Ben Bailey badge will be dropped, and the company will be incorporated into Gladedale’s central division. It had been the oldest housebuilding brand in Yorkshire.

Richard Bailey, who has been Ben Bailey’s chairman for the past 24 years, is understood to be leaving. Its non-executive directors are also expected to go.

David Gaffney, Gladedale’s chief executive (pictured), said this week that he hoped to retain the rest of Ben Bailey’s management. This includes Jonathan Bailey, the sales and marketing director, who would be the only member of the Bailey family to remain.

The deal will increase Gladedale’s presence in Yorkshire and give it a roughly even split of work between its southern, northern and central divisions. Gaffney said that the company intends to retain Ben Bailey’s head office in Mexborough, South Yorkshire.

Gaffney said: “This will help restore equilibrium between our regions in terms of volume, and allow us to focus on Yorkshire as an area of growth.”

Gaffney said Gladedale, which acquired Country & Metropolitan in 2005, would continue to seek further growth in a consolidating market. He said he would not rule out a listing sometime in the future, but said there were “no immediate plans” for this.

Gladedale reported its results for the year ended 31 December 2006. It recorded a pre-tax profit of £85m, up 38% on the previous year. Turnover rose 37% to £664m over the period and completions were up 38% to 3,854.

The top 10 housebuilders after Gladedale’s purchase of Ben Bailey

Housing turnover (£m)

Taylor Wimpey: 6,300
Barratt: 3,600
Persimmon: 3,100
Bellway: 1,200
Berkeley: 890
Gladedale: 800
Redrow: 770
Miller: 710
Crest Nicholson: 690
Bovis Homes: 600