The future of Skipton livestock market in north Yorkshire has been thrown into doubt after an aggressive private equity bid for 15% of shares in operator Craven Cattle Marts.

The bid for a controlling share in the company came from Leeds-based stockbrokers Fyshe Horton Finney after shareholder David Barry opposed board-led proposals to secure the site’s future as a livestock market.

Mr Barry is understood to be sole director of Guernsey-based company Value Investments.

CCM chairman Anthony Dean told shareholders: “The motives behind the offer are unclear, and so we are naturally concerned about the threat the bid might pose, if accepted, to the market’s future.”

Mr Dean said there was strong evidence that a consortium of private investors was behind the bid and had been accumulating shares in recent months.

The 28-acre brownfield site is home to several agricultural businesses and recently hosted the Beef Expo event.