Gina Rinehart’s joint venture company has increased its bid for S Kidman and Co to $386.5 million.
Australian Outback Beef (AOB), the joint venture owned by Hancock Prospecting and Shanghai CRED Real Estate Stock, has lodged documents with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission regarding the takeover offer.
The bid is half a million dollars more than a rival bid by a syndicate of Australian graziers.
A statement by AOB said all other terms of its previous bid remained in place.
It said the bid was further evidence of the commitment of AOB to “progress the process to the benefit of all Kidman shareholders”.
Ms Rinehart said the potential to acquire the Kidman business meant a great deal to her personally.
“I am from a station background, having grown up on Mulga Downs and Hamersley stations, both in the outback,” she said.
“I re-iterate AOB’s commitment to invest and grow Kidman.
“AOB has the capacity and ability to access additional markets vital to any credible plan to grow Kidman in a sustainable way and without breaking up the core business.
“This will result in valuable jobs being retained in Adelaide and also importantly create more jobs in rural communities where they are so desperately needed.”
The offer by AOB excludes the defence-sensitive Anna Creek Station, after the federal Treasurer blocked previous foreign bids for Kidman based on national security grounds.
But the offer is conditional on Anna Creek and its outlying station The Peake being sold and the proceeds returned to Kidman.
The all-Australian syndicate BBHO – made up of four of the nation’s wealthiest outback cattle and transport companies – is bidding for the entire business, including Anna Creek Station in South Australia.
The domestic syndicate does not require Australian foreign investment approval or regulatory clearance by Chinese authorities, as the bid by AOB does.
Rinehart ‘in driver’s seat’: commentator
Business commentator Tim Treadgold said the increased offer from AOB was a “classic case” of “the biggest chequebook winning the day”.
“It’s a business transaction. Rinehart’s put the most money on the table, she’s got the support of the board and you would have to say she’s now in the driver’s seat,” Mr Treadgold said.
“Half a million dollars is a reasonable amount of money. [But] it only has to be one dollar more and the board of Kidman has no choice but to accept the highest bid.
“To not accept the highest bid would cause them great problems.
“Whether the other people come back and counter-counter-bid, we’ll have to wait and see, but at the moment it’s a pretty plain vanilla case of the most money wins.”