HBOS is looking to sell most of its stake in retirement home specialist McCarthy & Stone just five months after buying it in a £1.1bn deal.

It is understood that the bank is having to scale back its portfolio in order to pursue bids for housebuilders Crest Nicholson and Wilson Bowden.

HBOS bought McCarthy & Stone in a consortium with Sir Tom Hunter’s investment vehicle West Cost Capital. The bank’s stake in the purchase was 58%.

The two parties are now carrying out due diligence on Crest Nicholson as part of a £713m bid. They are also rumoured to be in talks with Wilson Bowden about a £23 per share bid, which would value the housebuilder at £2.2bn.

Private equity groups often “flip” their investments after a short period of time if their value has risen. However, HBOS, which also owns stakes in Countryside Properties, Linden Homes and Fairview, normally takes a longer term approach and is thought to be making the move to concentrate on its other bids. It will retain a small stake in McCarthy & Stone.