Former Cala owner Patron joins race for £1bn housebuilder

A former joint owner of Cala Group has joined the race to snap up one of Britain's biggest privately owned housebuilders.

Sky News has learnt that Patron Capital Partners, which sold a 52.1% stake in Cala to Legal & General (L&G) in 2018, is among the bidders now vying to buy it from the FTSE-100 financial services group.

City sources said that Patron and Persimmon, the London-listed housebuilder, were both in contention, while rival interest from Bridgepoint, the private equity investor, is said to have cooled in recent weeks.

At least one other buyout firm is also in the mix, the sources added.

News of Patron Capital's interest comes on the same day that Antonio Simoes, the new chief executive of L&G, confirmed publicly that Cala had been earmarked for sale.

He outlined the move alongside a number of measures aimed at simplifying the company, although investors were unimpressed, sending L&G's shares down 5%.

Analysts expect Cala to fetch up to £1bn, with L&G unlikely to proceed with a sale if the price is significantly below that level.

The latest stage of the Cala auction comes amid a general election campaign in which both main parties have promised to deliver at least one and a half million new homes during the next parliament.

A takeover of Cala by another major housebuilder would underline fresh momentum in industry consolidation, after Barratt Developments unveiled a £2.5bn deal to acquire rival Redrow.

Neither Patron Capital nor L&G would comment.