Talk about a role reversal. Mercantile Investment Company’s (ASX: MVT) Sir Ron Brierley is well known for making takeover bids for ASX-listed companies.

In recent months he has targeted Yellow Brick Road (ASX: YBR) and Bauxite Resources (ASX: BAU).  But his greatest success in recent years has been with his investment company Mercantile which he took over five years ago.

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Between January 2015 and March 2018 Mercantile rose 60 per cent. But since March 2018 it has slowly declined and is now down 16 per cent from its peak.

And now the takeover targeter may be a target itself. Sandon Capital Investments (ASX: SNC) has bought 18.8 per cent of Mercantile.

Sandon will buy it from one of Brierley’s private companies, Siblow Pty Ltd, and pay for it in Sandon shares.

While Sandon has not made a formal takeover bid, it is just under the purchasing threshold (20 per cent) which it cannot exceed without launching a formal bid.

While Sandon managing director Gabriel Radzyminski also sits on Mercantile’s board, he is only a non-executive director.

It is also interesting to note another Mercantile director James Chirnside also sits on the board of Wilson, a major rival of Mercantile.

Wilson’s boss Geoff Wilson was the second largest shareholder with 12.56 per cent pre-dilution, according to Bloomberg, whilst Brierley’s stake was 44 per cent.

Ron Brierley in the 1980s.


In other ASX corporate news today

Construction company John Lyng Group (ASX: JLG) has welcomed QVG Capital as substantial holders. QVG has now accumulated a 5 per cent stake in John Lyng since early February and has paid $15.5 million. The move came only a week after Wilson bought in with a 5.6 per cent stake. The stock is up over 30 per cent this year.
Italian-focused oil and gas explorer Po Valley Energy (ASX: PVE) are the latest company to consider a London listing. It wants to list on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) rather than the main exchange. Po Valley told shareholders such a listing would be, “to enhance liquidity for the company’s shareholders and provide direct access to investors in the London market”.

“The London market is more knowledgeable and focused on European gas and energy assets and we expect a dual listing could result in greater market liquidity for Po Valley shareholders.”