Written on the 10 October 2016

GINA Rinehart has entered into a joint venture with Shanghai CRED Real Estate to buy the giant Kidman and Co cattle property in the Kimberley, Western Australia, for $365 million.

The property has been on the market for some time and a previous bid, from a Chinese-led consortium, was knocked back by Treasurer Scott Morrison due to being "contrary to the popular interest".

Yesterday's bid has received a warmer response as it is led by Australian company Hancock, which has a burgeoning cattle empire. It has taken a 67 per cent stake in the joint venture with CRED, which will be called Australian Outback Beef.

Kidman and Australian Outback Beef have entered into an bid agreement, but the offer is still subject to approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Chinese Government and Morrison will also have to sign off on the deal for it to go ahead.

There are also reports today that a rival bid may emerge from a consortium of Australia's richest graziiers, including the Brinkworth, Buntine, Harris and Oldfield families.

Both the Anna Creek and Peak stations, which are currently owned by Kidman and make up one third of the property, would be divested if the sale went ahead.

Rinehart (pictured), chairman of the Hancock Group, is keen to add the prestigious property to her company's existing cattle stations.

Less than a week ago the company bought 1,500 full-blood Wagyu cattle and in July it bought Riveren and Inverway Stations in the Northern Territory from Indonesia's JAPFA.

"Kidman is an iconic cattle business established more than a century ago by Sir Sidney Kidman. It is an operation founded on hard work and perseverance by an outstanding Australian, and is an important part of Australia's pioneering and entrepreneurial history," she says.

Garry Korte, CEO of Hancock, says, the quality of the Kidman herd and channel country properties complement Hancock's existing northern cattle properties, and align well with Rinehart's plans to build a diversified cattle holding in Australia.

Chairman of Kidman, John Crosby, welcomed the signing of the BIA and says Kidman shareholders are pleased that an agreement had now been signed.

It has been and arduous sale process for the current owners of the property, which sprawls over land 150% larger than Tasmania that is home to 185,000 cattle.

"We welcome the significant investment proposed in addition to the purchase price and are confident that the Kidman business will be in good hands," Crosby says.

Since the property was put on the market, sale manager Ernst & Young has fielded more than 600 inquiries from interested parties and there is still time for other bidders to make an offer.






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