Housebuilding could be dominated by five or six companies this time next year if the expected sale of Wilson Bowden leads to another round of consolidation.
This was the view of City analysts this week after Barratt, the UK’s second biggest housebuilder, emerged as a potential bidder for Wilson Bowden.
Earlier this week, Barratt was revealed to be one of a number of companies and private equity groups that had submitted a bid for Wilson Bowden.
If Barratt were successful, it would overtake Persimmon to become UK’s biggest housebuilder with a market value of more than £5bn. It would also mark a change in strategy for Barratt, which has not made an acquisition in more than 20 years.
Persimmon has effectively ruled itself out of the running for Wilson Bowden after its group finance director, Mike Killoran, sold 20,000 shares worth more than £300,000 last week. Under stock exchange rules, directors are not allowed to sell shares if they have private information that could effect their company’s share price.
The interest in Wilson Bowden was prompted when chairman David Wilson brought in NM Rothschild to review his family’s stake in the business.
Officially, Wilson has not said if he will sell his stake but the company’s board have nonetheless decided to talk to potential bidders.