THE battle for the Kidman cattle empire has heated up, with a consortium comprising four Australian grazier families, including Alice Springs local Viv Oldfield, submitting a $386 million offer to acquire 100% of the shares of S. Kidman and Co.
The BBHO consortium also includes cattle identities Tom Brinkworth, Sterling Buntine and Malcolm Harris
The consortium's bid is $21million more than the Gina Rinehart and Shanghai CRED Real Estate Stock Company's Outback Beef bid of $365 million made earlier this month.
However, the Outback Beef bid did not include the sale of the defence sensitive Anna Creek Station. Under the terms of the Rinehart bid, Anna Creek would be sold separately, with the money also going to Kidman, which Rural Weekly understands would bring the total offer prices from both bids much closer together.
The BBHO Consortium spokesman Sterling Buntine said in a statement that he believes their bid is better than Mrs Rinehart's.
"We have developed a compelling and superior proposal to that recently supported by the Kidman Board, which will see Kidman 100% Australian owned,” Mr Buntine said.
"BBHO's financing is committed and our proposal does not require Foreign Investment Review Board approval, which means greater certainty for the Kidman shareholders.
"The Kidman story and legacy of Sir Sidney Kidman is in the DNA of our cattle industry.
"Sir Sidney was a pioneering nation-builder whose values and vision helped build Australia into a respected leader in the global beef industry.
"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,” Mr Buntine said.
The statement said that the "BBHO families have direct, active, inter-generational involvement within the industry, and continue to this day to passionately work within their respective agricultural operations.
"Interests of the group span livestock, grain, transport and other industry services.”
Mr Buntine said as Australian grazing families the group shared 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-west Queensland to southern New South Wales followed in Sir Sidney's similar footsteps from earlier this century.”
The consortium intends to maintain and expand a Kidman branded cattle marketing and export operation representing the families' combined herd, which is in excess of 500,000 head.
"This initiative would more than treble the size of the herd currently marketed under the Kidman name,” Mr Buntine said.
The four families involved in the bold bid to outgun Mrs Rinehart have interests in the north.
Viv Oldfield is an Alice Springs businessman who runs cattle in the Northern Territory and South Australia.
He runs cattle on jointly managed properties Andado Station, Horseshoe Bend and New Crown.
Mr Oldfield also owns Tanami Transport, which transports cattle for several large companies.
He has also worked in the mining sector through his drilling company Gorey and Cole, which operated in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.
Mr Oldfield is also well-known as a racehorse owner and trainer.
South Australian pastoralist Tom Brinkworth owns more than 100 individual properties, which are spread across almost half a million hectares.
Sterling Buntine owns a number of properties across the NT and Western Australia.
In the Territory he controls Alroy Downs Station and Dalmore Downs on the Barkly.
He owns Lissadell, Bedford Downs and Lansdowne stations in the Kimberley.
Malcolm Harris' family owns Rockhampton Downs, near Tennant Creek and Benmarra Station in NT.
He also has interests in WA through Gogo Station.
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