Horizon, Osmond’s acquisition vehicle, is understood to have offered the syndicate of banks controlling the house builder between £300m and £350m.
Osmond, who built up Pizza Express, created Punch Taverns and ran Pearl Assurance, raised close to £420m of equity through a stock-market listing of Horizon this year.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, Osmond launched his takeover move last week, putting the plan to a meeting of Crest’s banks.
Lloyds took control of Crest last year through a debt-for-equity swap at the peak of the credit crisis.
The group wrote off £630m of debt in return for a 90% stake in the company, which builds about 2,000 homes a year and is concentrated in the south east of England and the Midlands.
As part of the deal, Osmond is seeking assurance from the banks that they will consider selling other property firms and land portfolios under their control.