SYDNEY Dec 8 No new bid has emerged for
Australia's largest private land holder S. Kidman & Co, likely
paving the way for the country's richest woman Gina Rinehart to
take it over with her A$386.5 million ($289.41 million) offer, a
source close to the transaction said.
Rinehart and her minority partner, Chinese developer
Shanghai CRED October, are awaiting regulatory approval from
Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board for their offer for
Kidman, which runs cattle and pastoral activities on tracts of
land the size of South Korea.
A decision from regulators on Kidman, which has been a
lightning rod for concerns about the sale of Australian
agriculture and other key assets to foreign investors, is
expected by December 23.
S.Kidman has not received any new expression of interest,
the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
And while the regulatory timeframe allows potential rival
bidders to still make a counter offer, that was unlikely, all
but guaranteeing Rinehart will complete the Kidman purchase, the
"Gina, be it with a Chinese partner or alone, will certainly
complete the purchase," the source said.
Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison could reject the
consortium's offer, but Rinehart has said she would then
complete the purchase alone, without Shanghai Cred, negating the
need for further regulatory approval.
The sales process of Kidman has been going on for more than
a year and saw Australia's government twice veto deals from
Chinese-led consortiums on national interest grounds.
Rinehart's majority ownership proposal satisfies Australian
lawmakers, who are keen for Kidman to stay locally owned.
Domestic ownership of agriculture is seen as crucial for
Australia to cash in on global food demand and to keep tax
Rinehart is Australia's richest woman with a net worth of
$11.7 billion, according to Forbes, based on an iron ore empire
in Australia's mineral-rich Pilbara, where she grew up.
($1 = 1.3355 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Muralikumar