Australian-Chinese $277 million bid for Australian ranches

An Australian-Chinese consortium has offered to buy Australia's largest cattle empire in a bid welcomed by the Australian agriculture minister.

Hancock Prospecting Pty. Ltd. announced on Sunday that it would take a 67 percent stake and Shanghai CRED Real Estate Stock Co. Ltd. a 33 percent stake in Australia's largest private landholding, S. Kidman & Co. Ltd., for 365 million Australian dollars ($277 million).

The Australian government announced in May that the collection of 10 cattle ranches, a bull breeding stud and a feed lot covering 101,411 square kilometers (39,155 square miles) in four states would never be sold to foreign interests when it vetoed a Chinese-led bid.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce on Monday welcomed the interest of an Australia-led consortium.