Range of institutional investors express interest in A$300m Kidman & Co sale

Australia's largest landowner, which covers 100,000 square kilometres, is up for sale as a whole business by the family that has held it since 1899.

A range of pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, related agribusinesses and families have expressed interest in the sale of Australia’s largest private landholder, S Kidman & Co, according to Don Manifold, managing partner at Ernst & Young law firm, and advisor on the divestment.

The business, which is expected to sell for over A$300 million, includes land covering over 100,000 square kilometres – an area equal to 80 percent of England – and 185,000 head of cattle.

Geographically, investor interest has come from Australia, China and other parts of Asia, the US and some from Europe, Manifold said. Australia’s local superannuation industry has been noticeably absent from the interested parties list but pension funds in the US have expressed interest.

The sale is taking place after more than 100 years in a family that is increasingly disparate and spread across Australia, Europe and the US, according to Manifold. It is also selling at this time to capitalise on strong demand for Australian agricultural assets at the moment, S Kidman & Co managing director Greg Campbell said in a press release.

“Many of the family have other existing investments in Australian agriculture and elsewhere and the sale will allow them to convert long term capital gains into cash to support their other businesses and investments,” he said.

The properties are spread across Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia and the company employs 170 staff. The family intends to sell the business as a whole.