Billionaire Gina Rinehart and her Chinese business partner have been cleared by the Australian government to buy iconic cattle company S. Kidman & Co., ending more than a year of uncertainty over the future of the vast property.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the deal meant that Kidman, which spans about 1.3 percent of the nation’s total land area, would remain majority Australian owned. The largest cattle station, Anna Creek and a property known as the Peake, will be carved out and acquired by the local Williams farming family, Morrison said in a statement Friday.
Founded in 1899 by so-called Cattle King Sidney Kidman, the company’s ranches span 101,000 square kilometers (39,000 square miles) and carry about 185,000 cattle. Acting on the advice of the Foreign Investment Review Board, the government blocked the sale to a Chinese company in November last year, saying the proximity of the Anna Creek ranch to a weapons-testing range could compromise national security.
Rinehart’s A$386.5 million ($288.1 million) bid, made under the entity Australian Outback Beef Pty., was unanimously recommended by the Kidman board in October, topping a rival offer by a group of outback ranchers. Her Hancock Prospecting Pty owns 67 percent of Outback Beef and Shanghai CRED Real Estate Stock Co. owns the rest.