By Robert Fenner
May 13 (Bloomberg) — Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, gained regulatory approval to buy Australia’s largest thoroughbred horse breeding business from Inghams Enterprises.
The Foreign Investment Review Board approved the deal, which will be completed on May 16, Ingham and the Sheik’s Darley thoroughbred unit said in an e-mailed statement today. No financial details were released. The sale is worth more than A$500 million ($473 million), the Australian newspaper reported March 25, without saying where it got the information.
Sheikh Mohammed, who owns Godolphin stables and stud farms in five countries, will take control of more than 1,000 Australian thoroughbreds, the Woodlands stud farm and a business that has produced breeding stallions such as Octagonal and Lonhro, which have each won more than A$5 million in prize money.
“I am delighted to be making this commitment to Australian racing, to people who share my passion for thoroughbreds,” Sheik Mohammed said in the statement. “I welcome the team from Woodlands and look forward to developing the champions of the future.”
The purchase includes racetrack training facilities in Sydney and Melbourne and the Woodlands stud farms in the Hunter Valley and Cootamundra regions of New South Wales state.
The Sheikh, the world’s biggest buyer of thoroughbreds, will integrate Woodlands with his existing Australian business, adding to stud farms in Ireland, Japan, the U.S. and U.K.
The sale ends the Ingham family’s 40 years in the breeding business, which started when they inherited mare Valiant Rose.
Bob Ingham, who teamed with his late brother Jack to build the thoroughbred business, will continue to race horses and has retained the rights to the family’s signature cerise racing colors.
The acquired horses will race in the Sheik’s maroon and white colors.