Harvard buys up Big Sky

The sale of the Big Sky Dairy Farm, near Patearoa, in the Maniototo, to Harvard University for more than $28 million has been confirmed.

The Otago Daily Times reported in June this year the Massachussetts-based university's multibillion-dollar global investment fun was poised to buy the 1300ha farm, subject to approval by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

Receiver Murray Frost yesterday confirmed the sale had been approved.

Mr Frost said although the OIO approval process had taken a long time, he was happy with the result and thought that the price it sold for "was fair and reasonable".

While first-ranking general security holder, the BNZ had been repaid in full, Mr Frost said there would be no repayment to unsecured creditors.

Blue Sky, which has changed its name to Dairy Farms Partnership, will continue operating as per usual with no job losses.

"I'm aware that all the employees have been offered employment and are continuing on," Mr Frost said.

Proposals were in place to make Big Sky the biggest dairy farm in New Zealand before it went into receivership in 2007, and was put into liquidation last year.

Blue Sky was purchased through Harvard University's endowment fund which was valued last year at $US26 billion ($NZ36.4 billion).

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard also owns another Maniototo dairy farm, Helenslea, as well as forestry interests in the North Island.

Derek Hopkins, spokesman for Franklin Group, who will manage Dairy Farms Partnership, could not confirm the exact figure the farm sold for, but said it was a figure more than $28 million.

He indicated a combined annual output figure of 1.8 million kg of milk solids from Dairy Farms Partnership and Helenslea stated to the ODT this year by a Harvard spokesman could be achievable by 2013.

The sale includes all livestock, nine dwellings, rotary, calf, and tool sheds, workshops, 1200ha of milking platforms, an additional 560ha of leased support land, and more than 1 million fully-paid Fonterra shares.


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