CORPORATE beef producer S. Kidman & Co this afternoon confirmed the sale process for the company is progressing with existing bidders, and that new parties will still have a late opportunity to bid, provided they do not require Foreign Investment Review Board approval.
Ongoing delays in the Kidman sale have created an opportunity for parties who chose not to participate in the competitive sale process to express interest, the company said in a statement issued a few minutes ago.
Kidman managing director Greg Campbell said it was important to understand that Australian parties still had an opportunity to make a bid.
“As Kidman is a public unlisted company, it is subject to the formal takeover process as prescribed under the Corporations Act. The successful final bidder will issue a Bidder’s Statement and lodge it with ASIC,” Mr Campbell said.
“This document, which will be available to the public, will include the offer price for Kidman and all other conditions of the offer. Any other bidder has the opportunity at that time to make a takeover offer for Kidman. If that offer is considered to be a “superior proposal”, then the Kidman directors have a fiduciary duty to recommend that offer for acceptance.”
Mr Campbell said Kidman and the EY sales team had continued to honour confidentiality agreements and had steadfastly refused to comment on the identity of buyers or the structure of their bids.
“The sale process has given equal and ample opportunity to all buyers, foreign and Australian, to fully review the business and to lodge binding bids. Should the Federal Treasurer approve foreign buyers to buy Kidman, any interested party not subject to FIRB approval will have the opportunity to lodge a counter bid,” he said.
“This means that late coming Australian parties can compete for the purchase of the business. There is sufficient publicly available information on the cattle industry and the Kidman properties, as well as audited financial information about the business for any Australian party to be able to develop such a bid.”
Mr Campbell said any late coming Australian parties were actually advantaged by the delays in regulatory approvals, in that any new foreign buyers requiring FIRB approval would not be able to enter the process.
“The existing bidders do not have to be excluded for genuine, late entry Australian parties to be granted the opportunity to make a late bid for the business,” Mr Campbell said.
“It is widely understood that the FIRB process and the national interest test are not in place simply to remove foreign buyer competition. This is particularly important once foreign bidders have set a price using international benchmarking, and their removal would, unreasonably for them and the sellers of a business, potentially create a discounted buying opportunity for Australian parties.”
Mr Campbell said Kidman and Ernst & Young had given every opportunity for Australian parties to participate in the sales process, and that after ten months, he was hopeful it could now be concluded in the next month or so.
“It is the company’s intent to maintain probity and continue to work with existing and any new bidders within the existing sales and regulatory framework to reach a satisfactory outcome for the sale of this iconic business.”
Anna Creek deal ‘progressing well’
On December 11, Kidman also announced that the South Australian cattle station, Anna Creek, was being excised from the Kidman portfolio and offered separately for sale.
This was in response to the FIRB, through the Treasurer, citing concerns over the portion of Anna Creek Station located within the occasional use “green zone” of the Woomera Prohibited Area, and further concerns over the land area within the Kidman portfolio.
The sale of Anna Creek was progressing well, the company said.