All-Australian consortium withdraws bid for cattle empire

CANBERRA, Australia – An all-Australian consortium has withdrew its bid to buy Australia’s largest cattle empire after the country’s richest woman announced she is prepared to buy it outright without a Chinese partner.

Gina Rinehart said on Thursday she is prepared to pay the entire 386.5 million Australian dollars ($294 million) for the country’s largest private landholding, S. Kidman & Co. Ltd., if regulators block her Chinese partner from buying a 33-per cent stake.

A consortium of four cattle families announced on Friday it was withdrawing its offer, which was AU$500,000 less.

The Australian government announced in May that the collection of 10 cattle ranches, a bull breeding stud and a feed lot covering 101,411 square kilometres (39,155 square miles) would never be sold to foreign interests, after vetoing a second Chinese-led bid.