Entrepreneur Hugh Osmond is using Horizon as a vehicle to takeover troubled housebuilder in £350m bid

Horizon has confirmed that it is in discussions to takeover troubled housebuilder Crest Nicholson.

The £350m bid was put forward to bank lenders last week. Hugh Osmond, the entrepreneur behind the Punch Taverns and Pearl Assurance, plans to use Horizon to take over and restructure the troubled housebuilder.

Lloyds Banking Group, which inherited an interest in Crest through its acquisition of HBOS in 2008, led lenders that seized control of about 90% of the equity last year in exchange for writing off about £630m of its debts.

Horizon raised about £420m from a stock market listing this year and is believed to be in talks with a number of companies.

Crest Nicholson has yet to respond formally to the proposals.

However, in a statement released this morning by Stephen Stone, chief executive of Crest Nicholson said: “Despite the challenging economic conditions of the last two years, Crest Nicholson has emerged in a position of strength.

"We remain committed to combining the long term future of the company and our employees, with value creation at every level of our operations.

"Reviewing the long-term future and prosperity of the company remains a perpetual process, and any decisions we make in terms of strategic direction will be carefully considered to ensure shareholder return and the ongoing stability of the business.”