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Terra Firma beefs up with cattle ranches

The UK buyout firm has paid a reported A$425m for Australian billionaire James Packer’s network of 17 beef ranches.

UK buyout firm Terra Firma has acquired Australian billionaire James Packer’s 90 percent stake in Australia’s second largest beef producer, Consolidated Pastoral Company(CPC).

The deal was worth about A$425 million (€217 million; $279 million), according to the Financial Times, but the terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

CPC is comprised of 17 cattle ranches arranged over 5 million hectares in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland. The ranches house 300,000 cattle.

Terra Firma chief Guy Hands said the firm was delighted to invest in such a “vital industry for Australia” noting the “long-term demand for beef” in the region and its associated markets in Asia.

Billionaire James Packer, who inherited Australian media investment firm Consolidated Press Holdings from his father, has reportedly seen his personal wealth halve in the past year, from $6 billion to less than $3 billion, according to Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph.

All regulatory approvals have been granted with completion expected to occur within a month, Terra Firm said in a statement. The remaining 10 percent stake in CPC will continue to be held by the firm’s management team, headed by chief executive Ken Warriner.

This is not Packer’s first dealing with private equity as he sold a 50 percent stake in Australia-listed Publishing and Broadcasting firm to CVC Capital Partners and its affiliate CVC Asia Pacific for A$5.5 billion in November 2006. CVC acquired a subsequent 25 percent stake in the firm from Packer the following July and although Consolidated Press Holdings still holds 25 percent of the firm Packer resigned from its board last October.