Persimmon, Britain’s largest housebuilder, and private equity firms are preparing to launch rival bids to the proposed £5.5bn merger of George Wimpey and Taylor Woodrow. The Times. Financial Times

Several City investment banks have been approached in the past week to weigh up Taylor Woodrow, which is valued at £2.95bn.

Venture capital suitors could include Permira and Barclays Private Equity, whose consortium lost out last year in the £1.1bn battle for retirement home builderMcCarthy & Stone.

Persimmon is thought to be attracted to Taylor Woodrow’s UK Land bank, worth about 4.5 years' of supply.

Yesterday Persimmon announced it has generated revenues of £1.8bn so far in 2007 and said the housing market remained stable in spite of the likelihood of further interest rate rises this year.