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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

No H&H Group takeover of Penrith Farmers' and Kidd's

Penrith Farmers’ and Kidd’s (PF&K) will remain independent after a proposed takeover by rival H&H Group failed to materialise.

PF&K announced before Christmas that it had received a takeover approach from H&H, which runs the Borderway auction mart in Carlisle.

That statement triggered a 28-day notice period, which expired this week, where H&H had to make an offer or withdraw. It has since emerged that H&H told PF&K several weeks ago that it would not be making an offer.

A statement from PF&K said: “The board welcomes this clarification from H&H regarding its intentions and will now focus on delivering growth and shareholder value.”

H&H declined to comment.

PF&K dates from 1876. It sold its livestock-auction business to H&H in 2002.

It has separate divisions offering residential estate agency and valuation, residential letting and management, commercial agency and valuation, land agency, planning consultancy, and fine art, antique and furniture sales.

The head office is in Penrith and there are branches in Keswick, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Cockermouth.

The company’s chairman, Robert Good, told the annual general meeting last month that it had been forced to go public on H&H’s overtures.

It is understood that the two had been in talks about a takeover for months.

Mr Good said: “Shareholders will undoubtedly be aware of the rumours which have been circulating of late, rumours which reached the board via tenants and staff, among others, with unsettling effect.

“Perhaps as a result the share price rose by more than 10 per cent. In these circumstances, we approached the Takeover Panel who instructed us that an announcement must be made and we therefore complied with their requirements.”

It also emerged at the meeting, in response to questions, that H&H had bought 3,405 shares in PF&K since mid-October, most recently on November 16, giving it 6,233 in total.

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