Buyout sees auction chain UA taken over by management

United Auctions' new owners, from left: John Roberts, George Purves, Christopher Sharp and Donald Young. Picture: Whyler Photos
United Auctions' new owners, from left: John Roberts, George Purves, Christopher Sharp and Donald Young. Picture: Whyler Photos
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Only months after taking over their senior executive roles, four of the management team at one of the country’s leading agricultural auctioneers have announced a buyout of the company.

United Auctions announced that a management consortium – George Purves, John Roberts, Christopher Sharp and Donald Young, backed by fellow directors David Brown, Donald Morrison and Matt Stevenson – had agreed terms to acquire the entire issued share capital of the business for an undisclosed sum.

The deal includes all auction markets within the group, including the property holding at Stirling Agricultural Centre.

The current top team assumed operational responsibility for the ­business recently as part of the group’s succession programme.

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Speaking shortly after the decision was announced following a board meeting yesterday, managing director Purves said: “This is a big step in the evolution and continued planned progression of the company and we are deeply proud to be sharing the responsibility of taking the business forward for the next generation.”

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Former owners Robin Tough, Neil McLean and David Leggat, who stood down from the management team in December 2016 as part of the planned change, will continue to have non-executive, advisory roles. Outgoing executive chairman Leggat said: “We feel that this is the right time for us to take a step back and allow the next generation to take the business forward.”

The company operates a network of auction markets across Scotland – including Stirling, Huntly, Lairg, Dalmally, Tiree, Islay, South Uist and an area office and lairage facility at Oban – and also runs the world-famous Stirling Bull Sales, which begin next week.

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