Property: Trucking magnate Lindsay Fox in late counter-offer on Kidman

Beef Central, 07/02/2016



TRANSPORT magnate Lindsay Fox has launched a late bid to keep Australia’s largest outback cattle empire in Australian hands, with an offer to buy the S. Kidman & Co property portfolio.

The Weekend Australian reported that Mr Fox, one of Australia’s largest employers through his Linfox logistics network, had written to Treasurer Scott Morrison flagging his interest in buying the Kidman properties – despite being close to being sold in a deal said to be worth close to $300 million giving control to Chinese-owned Shanghai Pengxin Group Co.

Mr Morrison is said to be within weeks of signing off-on the Shanghai Pengxin Group deal, after blocking an earlier larger bid last year on national security/national interest grounds.

In November the Federal Government announced that it had vetoed the sale of Australia’s largest land holding to Chinese buyers (click here to view earlier article).

The decision followed a recommendation against the sale by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

“I have decided that the acquisition by foreign investors of S. Kidman and Co would be contrary to the national interest and shall not be authorising the sale to proceed as currently proposed,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said at the time.

Parts of one of Kidman’s stations, Anna Creek, are located in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) in South Australia. National security concerns played a role in the decision, Mr Morrison said.

The nearby WPA weapons testing range made a unique and sensitive contribution to Australia’s national defence, he said. “It is not unusual for governments to restrict access to sensitive areas on national security grounds.”

“Given the size and significance of the total portfolio of Kidman properties along with the national security issues around access to the WPA, I have determined, after taking advice from FIRB, that it would be contrary to Australia’s national interest for a foreign person to acquire S. Kidman and Co in its current form,” Mr Morrison said.

In response, the Kidman group, intending buyers and the sale managers, accountancy firm Ernst & Young are understood to have presented the government with a revised plan, excluding the sensitive Anna Creek pastoral lease, for a value reported to be around $300 million. It also reduces the overall Kidman portfolio land area by about 25pc, potentially lessening the government’s concerns over the size of the ‘footprint’ involved in the deal.

The Australian on Saturday reported that Linfox Property Group chief executive Andrew Fox had indicated that his company was prepared to make a late bid for the Kidman assets.

“This is a great Australian asset, it’s fourth, fifth generation and it would be a great feeling, like (Agriculture Minister) Barnaby Joyce has said, to have it stay in Australian hands,” he said.

“Linfox are very interested in the Kidman portfolio of properties; the only disadvantage is that we are late into the tender process,” Mr Fox said.

“Until such time as the Foreign Investment Review Board has made a decision on where the direction of the sale to a foreign entity is concerned, Linfox cannot make a move to access any information and nor do we wish to jeopardise the position of the process that EY are in at the moment.”

Linfox’s letter to Mr Morrison said it could offer to buy the Kidman station portfolio in its entirety, including Anna Creek.

Shanghai Pengxin’s revised offer excluded Anna Creek from the deal to remove security concerns – at a price said to be reduced from $350m to $300m. The exclusion of Anna Creek also diminishes Kidman & Co’s ‘supply chain’ appeal, however, carefully put together over decades of land dealings.

The Linfox proposal also offers to speed completion of a counter-offer, The Australian reported.

Treasurer Scott Morrison earlier said Australia’s foreign investment laws did not provide a role for the government to be “an active player in these commercial negotiations.”

“It is our job simply to apply those foreign investment laws to prospective foreign investment proposals to determine whether it is contrary to the national interest or not,” he said.

Kidman is Australia’s largest private landowner, holding about 1.3 percent of Australia’s total land area, and 2.5pc of agricultural land.

The company has 10 cattle stations, including properties across regional South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland covering 101,411sq km and managing a long-term average herd of 185,000 cattle. This is a significantly larger than the next biggest rural landholding in the country.




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  1. Cindy Burgess, 29/06/2016

    All Australian’s should be included in any decision to sell large holdings of land off to overseas buyers. Our veterans fought to protect our country and this to me as an Australian, is an insult to ANZAC veterans.
    I was under the impression that the government has a duty of care to protect Australia and those who reside here. I am all for foreign investment but rather than sell off Australian land, especially such vast holdings; the government should offer 100yr ( or less) leasing of land rather than sell, that way we get to retain land ownership and money continues to exchange hands. Australia as we know it, is capable of being very self sufficient and very generous country…. Let’s keep Australia within Australia and retain our land and our identity… I only hope Lindsay Fox is able to secure ownership of Kidman holdings ? Could then lease to overseas interests.

  2. Andrew LODI, 09/03/2016

    Our land. Our owners. Support our farmers.

  3. Ian Dridan, 09/03/2016

    No Australian Sovereign soil should be owned by any foreign countries. Our forefathers made the ultimate sacrifice for this right.
    Any politician elected by the Australian people to represent the Australian people should be put in trial for treason for allowing any such transaction, as to should the vendor.
    Greed is this country’ greatest enemy and it is being driven by the minority of socalled Australians.
    Keep Australia, Australia. I think our future generations deserve that much.

  4. Bronwyn Evans, 09/03/2016

    I should think that all Australians are behind Lindsey Fox. Let us hope those in Canberra don’t sell us short. If all Australian assets keep getting sold to foreign investors the will be no Australia left. The ANZACs fought for this country and now we are just selling it off for a bit of short term profit. I would like to think that my children and grandchildren get to enjoy this great country we live in, just as I have been able to.

  5. Sydney Ness, 09/03/2016

    Farming land should be kept in Australian secure our future food supplies. The same goes with land running live stock. Mr Morrison please reconsider the situation and do not sell off Australia.

  6. Leon Wakefield, 09/03/2016

    Mr Fox you are our hero and please fight to keep Australian land in Australian hands.Mr Morrison you and your crazy cronies pull your heads in and keep Australia in Australian hands.

  7. Jo Ellis, 09/03/2016

    If you watched Q & A you would have noted last Monday that both major parties favour foreign ownership (investment) so it’s going to be hard to sway these pig headed pollies. Why can’t things be leased? We’re all behind you Lindsay Fox!~

  8. Lesley Spooner, 09/03/2016

    Maybe we should all bombard Morrisons’ FB page

  9. Sherryl Stiles, 09/03/2016

    This historic station is such an important part of our heritage – hope Lindsay Fox’s bid succeeds to ensure it stays in Aussie hands.

  10. Deirdra Prime, 09/03/2016

    Australians would be so proud if the property was sold to the Lindsey Fox corporate, they are true blue Aussies and we do not want any more property sold to the Chinese.
    I wish him every success to keep our land, for the Diggers that fort for it, my Father would be turning in his grave
    Best of Luck we are behind you.

  11. Joy Dorrington, 26/02/2016

    With Lindsay Fox and company, one grand empire will continue in the hands of another for all Aussies to be proud of.

  12. Kenneth Leslie Lawson, 13/02/2016

    This is the best news ever! Lindsay Fox and family are true Aussies and deserve
    to buy this land. I wish them continued success and thankyou for saving the farm to Australia.
    I have not heard better news in my 74 years. Thankyou from the bottom of my Aussie heart.

  13. Diane Scaroni, 12/02/2016

    Thank you so much at least we still have some true Aussies left our grandchildren coming up will have nothing if more don’t step up our government won’t be happy until Australia is sold our diggers who fought for us so many years ago must be saying why

  14. Carolyn Richards-Vallette, 11/02/2016

    Good on ya mate…keep it Australian!

  15. Melissa Rothfield, 11/02/2016

    How fabulous. I HOPE it’s not too late. THANKYOU Lindsay Fox. You get it.

  16. Danny O'Brien, 11/02/2016

    Well done Lindsay i hope this starts a trend with many more great Australians

  17. john bunney, 11/02/2016

    thank you Lindsey if you can put it on the share market for Australian only to buy I am sure that you will have a lot of people that will support you I know I would buy shares

  18. Jackie Berry, 11/02/2016

    It is so important to retain agricultural land for Australian ownership. While we should welcome foreign Trade Partners we need to be very wary of selling the very land that enables us to feed ourselves and a hungry world. I hope Linfox secures this property and that a precedent is set for further Australian Companies to be first in line to buy Australian Property.

  19. Morag Stewart, 11/02/2016

    No surprise at the backflip on China… as for national security grounds, well, hell, this mob have already handed over Darwin’s ports….. might as well flog the rest off.

  20. James Williams, 11/02/2016

    Why is our Government law so contrived?. Why can’t Barnaby Joyce make decisions for the good of our country’s agriculture? We need to change law and ensure no AGRICULTURAL properties are sold to foreign investors. Mr Fox to get the property with the backing of the government. If this is not done, there will backlash. The outcome will be to Mr Fox with no explanation needed, it’s simply our national interest and we don’t need to justify our position to any foreign investor, ever!

  21. Suzana Jonez, 11/02/2016

    fongers crossed for you Mr Fox! NO foreign land sales!

  22. Amanda Morris, 10/02/2016

    Well Done Lindsay Fox and good luck. Australians investing in Australia., way to go.

  23. Cherie Johnston, 10/02/2016

    Lindsay Fox you are a hero. We must keep Australia for Australians.

  24. Bernard Young, 10/02/2016

    I fully support Linfox Property Group, my I suggest that you be fully prepared to upgrade your potential counter offer to secure the enterprise should the business model support it. Considering the other tenderers already in play, you may consider sharing the financial burden with like minded individuals.

  25. Susan Quirk, 10/02/2016

    Thank you Lindsay Fox & Family for placing a bid on this Property.Now Mr. Morrison help keep it Australian owned.How wonderful if another great Aussie Family were to own Kidman Properties.

  26. Jeannie Kleynhans, 10/02/2016

    Great news Lindsay Fox, wishing you a successful bid.

  27. Janelle Manton, 10/02/2016

    It’s an abomination to sell off land to a foreign investor that has no right to own what is not there’s to start with. We must all work together to stop this. Our government need to man up and stand up against the selling off of assests… What will be left and how will we control the quality of environmental issues, animal treatment and aussie jobs if this continues?????. We live here, its all of ours, and it effects us all in the end.

  28. Karen Pritchard, 10/02/2016

    Keep Australia in Australian hands! !!!

  29. Trevor Edmond, 10/02/2016

    Our government has already been sold off to foreign interests – see TPP Agreememt- It only follows naturally that land will be sold off as well. Our ports have been sold off.
    What next.

  30. Chris Gregory, 09/02/2016

    Well done Lyndsay Fox. Now come on Mr Morrison. Do the right thing and keep this in Australian hands. This is part of our very important ‘bread basket’ and we should never be selling agricultural properties into foreign ownership what ever the price.

  31. Billhumble, 09/02/2016

    Lindsay Fox I applaud you , for you Sir are a true AUSSIE.!!!!!!

  32. Jaime Buchanan, 09/02/2016

    I pray that our grandchildren know the joys of life in OUR great country. Keep Australia in Australian hands.

  33. Beth Mclellan, 09/02/2016

    Far too much of Australia has been sold off to overseas investors.
    I wish Lindsay Fox every success in his late bid. Our Government need to support Australian ownership of this huge company.

  34. Melody Mallyon, 09/02/2016

    This is just the greatest news, Lindsay Fox, to keep Sir Sidney Kidman’s Empire under Australian ownership as with all Australian Agricultural Land.

  35. David Koppman, 09/02/2016

    It would be good if it stays in Australian hands but don’t hold your breath our current government is not very Australian nor helpful to our farmers.

  36. Veronika Makk, 09/02/2016

    Australian people MUST have FIRST option on buying pieces of Australia.

  37. Cliff Peacock, 09/02/2016

    How disappointing that Mr Morrison is so reluctant to ensure that this and other important Australian agricultural asset are retained under Australian ownership. Foreign investment is fine but selling our farms 100 percent to foreign buyers is simply naive and not in our long term national interest.

  38. john henry, 08/02/2016

    This is great news the fox group of companies can keep the Kidman past co whole in Aussie hand saving the pastoral empire here and all profits in Australian hands.the assets is Aussie and sir sid Kidman would be proud all the way.

  39. Robert Grummitt, 08/02/2016

    Hang in there Lindsay Fox ,I am sure a lot of Australians are behind you .This land needs to stay with us.

  40. Tony Hogben, Bribie Island, 08/02/2016

    ……this is nice to see a real Australian stepping up and making a bid…..let’s keep it in Aussie hands……we have everything to gain by it remaining Australian….

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