Housebuilder Crest Nicholson was this week forced to meet with Heron, the property developer that is its biggest shareholder and which is planning a hostile takeover.

Crest finally agreed to open negotiations with Heron hours after the property firm had issued a statement to the stock exchange urging Crest shareholders to encourage their board to open its books.

Heron is under pressure to formally declare its intentions, and the takeover panel has given it until next Wednesday to make an offer for Crest, in which it has a 23.4% stake, or to stop hounding the firm.

Despite the fact that the Crest board has agreed to meet with Heron, which is run by entrepreneur Gerald Ronson, the housebuilder issued a statement reiterating its view that Heron’s indicative offer of between 345p and 430p a share was far too low.