Gina Rinehart
Australian mining heiress and Chairman of Hancock Prospecting group Gina Rinehart prepares to award medals to competitors at the Australian Synchronised Swimming Championships in Sydney, Australia, April 25, 2015. Reuters/Jason Reed/File Photo

Half a million dollars made a lot of difference in settling who is the better bidder between the BBHO syndicate and the Australian Outback Beef (AOB) joint venture made up of Hancock Prospecting and Shanghai CRED. After AOB hiked on Wednesday its offer to $386.5 million from $365 million, it became higher than BBHO’s offer of $386 million.

With AOB’s higher offer, BBHO bowed out of the bidding war on Friday, leaving the approval of the offer in the hands of the Kidman board and the Foreign Investment Review Board, ABC reports.

Canberra Times reports that the Kidman board unanimously recommended accepting the higher offer of the AOB. BBHO adds that if AOB buys the cattle empire and land, it looks forward to welcoming the JV as its neighbours in the outback.

In a statement, BBHO said, "We are disciplined investors in Australian rural assets and made what we believed to be a full and fair offer.” The syndicate added, “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,” ABC reports.

The group – made up of the Buntine, Brinkworth, Harris and Oldfield families of Australian graziers – acknowledges the strong groundswell of public support it received from well-wishers across Australia which is a recognition of the importance of the Kidman name and legacy to the cattle industry.

The empire consists of 100,000 square kilometres of pastoral leases and 185,000 head of cattle in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. If the regulator approves the sale to AOB, Gina Rinehart – owner of Hancock Prospecting and several pastoral lands – would add a third title.

Besides being Australia’s richest person (and once the richest woman in the world) and being a mining magnate, she would soon be a cattle empress as well.