Takeover bid for John Swan

Famous Borders livestock auctioneer, John Swan & Sons, is the subject of a takeover bid which values the 160-year-old firm at £8.2million.

The AIM-quoted company, which has marts in Newtown St Boswells and Wooler, has said its board intends recommending investors accept the 1,350p per share approach from unlisted rival, H&H Group.

Shares in John Swan, one of Scotland’s smallest quoted companies, almost doubled in value last week on the back of the potential bid.

H&H, which is headquartered in Carlisle and has interests spanning land and property, classic car auctions and insurance broking, as well as livestock marts, has until January 15 to make a formal bid or walk away.

John Swan was founded in 1856, with its first mart in Earlston.

Pre-tax losses at John Swan narrowed slightly to £369,137 in the 12 months to April 30, down from £372,177 the previous year, with chairman Alastair Ritchie lamenting a bad debt incurred in the second half that “masked a significant improvement in our mart performance”.