An all-Australian syndicate has made a $386 million bid for the Kidman cattle empire, which is higher than Gina Rinehart’s Australian-Chinese bid.
The offer by four families with extensive livestock and transport operations is unconditional and is more than the joint bid by Ms Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and her Chinese partner Shanghai CRED.
“We have developed a compelling and superior proposal to that recently supported by the Kidman Board which will see Kidman 100 per cent Australian owned,” said West Australian and Northern Territory pastoralist Sterling Buntine, who is a member of the BBHO syndicate.
“The four families comprising the consortium are deeply committed to honouring and preserving the Kidman heritage and brand, which will continue under the stewardship of highly regarded and successful Australian graziers.”
BBHO also includes South Australian Tom Brinkworth, Malcolm Harris from New South Wales, and Viv Oldfield from Alice Springs.
The families already own huge chunks of pastoral land in northern and central Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, and between them run about 400,000 head of cattle, Mr Buntine told the ABC last week.
The syndicate is bidding for the entire Kidman business, including the defence-sensitive Anna Creek Station, near the Woomera weapons-testing range.
The greatest advantage for the domestic syndicate is that its offer does not require Australian foreign investment approval or regulatory clearance by Chinese authorities as does the bid by Australian Outback Beef (AOB) – the joint venture company 67 per cent owned by Hancock Prospecting and one-third owned by Shanghai CRED.
The Kidman board is required to consider any offer that is higher or superior to the one on the table, but the Hancock-Shanghai team would have a right to match any rival bid should it gain foreign investment approval.