The consortium of Australian families known as BBHO has received debt funding approval from Rabobank, enabling it to officially make a $386 million bid for Australia’s largest landholder S. Kidman and Company.
The price offered by the consortium, which comprises graziers Tom Brinkworth, Sterling Buntine, Malcolm Harris and Viv Oldfield and their families, is superior to the $365 million offered by mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and Chinese joint venture partner Shanghai CRED.
“We look forward to the opportunity to progress discussions with the Kidman board in respect of our offer,” Mr Buntine said.
The consortium has retained Agrify and Hindmarsh Partners as financial advisers on the transaction, while Piper Alderman will cover the legal aspects of the bid, which will be in the hands of the Kidman board tomorrow.
The four families will maintain the operation of the Kidman business while owning separate properties in each of their four names.
Mr Buntine said the bid would not see Kidman broken up and sold off in a similar way AMP’s Stanbroke Pastoral company had been earlier last decade.
“This is no Stanbroke split-up deal,” Mr Buntine said.
“As Australian grazing families, we share a strong affinity with the Kidman properties.
“My father carted cattle for Kidman for many years, while several members of the Oldfield family earned their stripes as drovers on Sir Sidney’s properties.
“More recently, the Brinkworth family’s epic 18,000-head cattle drive from central western Queensland to southern NSW followed in Sir Sidney’s similar footsteps from earlier this century.”
The families have been looking at buying some of the Kidman properties for nigh on 18 months and have been in and out of the process.
The Kidman business operates up to 185,000 head of cattle across more than 10 million hectares.
Representatives of the family consortium were in Canberra last week seeking meetings with politicians.
Mr Buntine said he had gathered considerable political support for the bid.
The four families have built significant cattle businesses.
Mr Buntine has amassed more than 2.8 million hectares across the Kimberley, Northern Territory and Queensland.
His portfolio includes one of the largest single aggregations in the country, the Bedford Downs and Lansdowne properties in WA.
Mr Harris, whose relations include Ken Harris who partnered with Greentree Farming – Australia’s largest wheat farmer – owns Gogo Station in WA and “Cleveland” and “Tundunna” properties on the border of NSW and Queensland.
Mr Brinkworth and his wife Pat, based at Watervalley Station west of Kingston in South Australia, control about a million hectares of agricultural land in their home state and NSW.