386 million bid puts pressure on gina rinehart

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AUSTRALIA’S richest woman Gina Rinehart is under pressure to match a bid for the Kidman cattle empire after being trumped by more than $21 million by a group of four Aussie graziers.

The mining boss and her Chinese partner Shanghai CRED have controversially attempted to take over 117-year-old cattle station, but have hit a hurdle with the Australian consortium putting up $386 million for the 101,000 square kilometre property.

The group of wealthy graziers, known as BBHO, made the bid over the weekend to acquire 100 per cent of S Kidman Co Australias largest private landholder with four properties spanning three states and the Northern Territory.

Tom Brinkworth, Sterling Buntine, Malcolm Harris and Viv Oldfield say under their offer, Kidman would stay totally Australian owned, wont require approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), and would triple the size of the cattle herd marketed under the Kidman name.

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 in a statement on Sunday.

Earlier this month, Ms Rinehart lodged a $365 million Australian-majority bid for 67 per cent of S Kidman and Co, with Chinese-owned Shanghai CRED to hold the other third.

The prospective takeover has attracted controversy for involving a Chinese buyer, after a bid from a Chinese-led consortium earlier this year was scuttled by Treasurer Scott Morrison.

A Rinehart takeover would require approval from the FIRB.

Ms Rinehart argued the BBHO consortium was no guarantee of getting state government approvals and needed to get pastoral leases transferred because of dubious track records.

Crossbencher Nick Xenophon backed the BBHO bid on Sunday.

The South Australian Senator said the BBHO bid came from families with great depth of experience and commercial acumen in running cattle empires and have a plan to grow Kidman.

Where there is a credible, 100 per cent Australian bid, then it would be unforgivable for the federal government not to approve a 100 per cent local big, he told AAP on Sunday.

with AAP