Former trade minister Andrew Robb warned investment was being put at risk by “cowboys down here playing the China card” in a clear swipe at the wealthy farming families who lobbed a $386m rival offer for Kidman early this week.
Mr Robb, trade minister in the Abbott and Turnbull governments, said there were “a number of politicians who need to be careful about being used as a mouthpiece for people who want to make a cheap deal”.
Former trade minister Andrew Robb has joined investment bank Moelis & Company, where he will focus on deals with China.
The role with Moelis, a New York-listed investment bank, will see Mr Robb mainly helping Chinese companies looking to enter the Australian market. He will have the title of independent adviser.
Moelis also has an asset management business focused on wealthy Chinese wishing to obtain an Australian passport, through the Significant Investor Visa program.
Mr Robb was responsible for redesigning this program while in government to tilt the required $5 million in investment away from passive bonds, towards higher risk venture capital and small company investments.
The above comments appear to be aimed at Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who on Wednesday suggested the sale of Australian farmland to foreigners threatened national patriotism and sovereignty.
Other politicians, including Nick Xenophon and Bob Katter, had lined up behind BBHO consortium all Aussie bidder, led by Northern Territory cattleman Sterling Buntine.
Anti-foreign investment One Nation leader Pauline Hanson last night said she had no problems with Mrs Rinehart and her Chinese partner buying the Kidman outback empire.
Senator Hanson said she had personally been given assurances by Mrs Rinehart that her Hancock Prospecting group would never sell out or sell down its 67 per cent stake to her minority partner.
The withdrawal of a rival bid from four wealthy farming families.The decision by the Buntine, Brinkworth, Harris and Oldfield families came after the Kidman board yesterday unanimously recommended shareholders accept an improved, $386.5 million offer from Hancock Prospecting and Chinese firm Shanghai CRED.
Last night the BBHO syndicate was considering lobbing a higher offer, but decided not to get into a bidding war with the mining magnate.
In a statement, the BBHO syndicate said it had withdrawn following the Kidman board’s recommendation yesterday.
“We are disciplined investors in Australian rural assets and made what we believed to be a full and fair offer,” the statement says.
“After what has been a lengthy and complex sales process we congratulate the Hancock Shanghai CRED consortium for similarly recognising the potential of the iconic Kidman brand.
“Each of the BBHO partners wishes the Hancock consortium well and, should they be successful in completing the acquisition, we look forward to welcoming them as neighbours.”
The Hancock bid will leave Shanghai CRED with a one-third stake in the pastoral portfolio, and the Anna Creek property will be sold, most likely to the Williams Cattle Company.
Hancock Prospecting will acquire the entire portfolio if Foreign Investment Review Board approval is not forthcoming, Mrs Rinehart said in a statement yesterday.