The $371 million bid by Chinese-based Dakang Australia Holdings and ASX-listed Australian Rural Capital Ltd for the nation’s biggest pastoral business, S. Kidman & Co, has been withdrawn.
The move follows treasurer Scott Morrison’s decision to block the sale of the land to foreign investors on national interest grounds for the second time.
Last week he voiced his concerns that the acquisition of an 80% interest in S. Kidman & Co may be contrary to the national interest.
“I have today made my concerns known to the applicant and provided them with a natural justice period in which they may respond and consider how they wish to proceed. The applicant shall have until next Tuesday 3 May 2016 to respond.”
Today S Kidman and Co managing director Greg Campbell said “faced with such tight timelines, withdrawing the FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) application and terminating the [bid] was the only option available”.
Campbell also said family shareholders in the business are against the company being broken up.
The 116-year-old business, which covers 100,000 square kilometres of the Australian outback, will now be re-offered for sale in its entirety.
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