Hunter analysts’ favourite, as Scotland’s richest man, Barratt and George Wimpey battle it out for housebuilder

Sir Tom Hunter, Barratt, and George Wimpey are expected to fight it out in a £2bn battle for housebuilder Wilson Bowden.

Hunter, Scotland’s richest man, is thought to be preparing a bid with the backing of HBOS, which would make it his third offer for a UK housebuilder in just four months.

Last week he gained the support of the board of Crest Nicholson for a £713m offer for the housebuilder, and in September he bought retirement home specialist McCarthy & Stone for £1.1bn.

Both acquisitions were backed by HBOS.

Hunter is the analysts’ favourite in the race for Wilson Bowden after the recent flurry of private equity investment in the housebuilding sector.

Success in the takeover battle would make both Barratt and Wimpey the UK’s biggest housebuilder, ahead of the current leader and FTSE 100 company Persimmon.

It first emerged last July that Wilson Bowden chairman David Wilson was reviewing his majority stake in the company.

Shares in the company were up 1% today at £22.8, valuing the company at £2.2bn.