Murdoch spends A$285m to secure Montana cattle ranch

AUSTRALIAN-born media magnate Rupert Murdoch and his partner Gerry Room paid around US$200 million (AUD$285 million) to buy a prized cattle ranch in Montana (USA).

The scenic 138,000 ha (340,000 acre) Beaverhead Ranch in southwestern Montana is located not far from Yellowstone National Park and stretches 80 km north to south across two US counties.

The sale, which concluded in December, is considered the largest in Montana breeding history.

Beaverhead was purchased from Matador Cattle Co, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. It was originally purchased 70 years ago by Fred Koch, who founded the family crude oil business that became Koch Industries.

The working cattle ranch has a capacity of 7,000 head of cattle, in addition to carrying large populations of elk, antelope, and mule deer, as well as a 28-mile frontage to a trout-filled creek. The operation includes 25 accommodations for employees.

US media have suggested that Koch Industries has been selling similar pasture properties in the US lately, including one in Kansas listed at around $24 million and another in Texas at around $124 million.

The sale spokesman said the Murdochs had been planning to spend time at the ranch and had been looking for a suitable asset for about a year.

Approximately one-third of the Beaverhead property area is deeded and there are grazing rights to approximately 226,000 leased acres.

The Koch family and its related entities are considered one of the largest landowners in the United States. Over the years, the four Koch brothers (including Bill and the late Frederick) acquired a large real estate portfolio in Palm Beach, Colorado, Kansas, Texas and New York.

The Murdochs already own a ranch in California in addition to their Australian sheep and cattle ranching assets in New South Wales.

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