Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, is looking to bid jointly with Chinese interests for Kidman and Co, one of the country's largest farm owners, according to sources, hard on the heels of the purchase of a string of pastoral properties in northern Australia.
Chinese interest in acquiring Kidman remains intense, despite the federal government's rejection of recent bids.
Ms Rinehart's interest in Kidman comes as the earlier rejected bidder for the pastoral empire is seeking to launch another bid, this time with a larger share held by local investors.
Kidman has a beef herd estimated at 185,000 head of cattle, with pastoral leases totalling 101,000 square kilometres.
A source said Ms Rinehart was considering bidding for Kidman jointly with Shanghai CRED, which is owned by Chinese businessman Guo Guojie.
The initial bidder for Kidman, a consortium that included Shanghai Pengxin and the locally listed Australian Rural Capital, also included Shanghai CRED, which has now changed horses.
The original bidder is in discussions with a range of local investors to lift the local equity component of its consortium high enough to not be knocked back by the federal government, although the status of these negotiations is unclear.
Recently, Ms Rinehart, via Hancock Prospecting, acquired three large properties in the Northern Territory - Phoenix Park, Riveren and Inverary.
Her interest in the sector comes at a time of surging beef prices as farmers seek to rebuild their herds following the recent extensive drought throughout northern Australia.
Ms Rinehart's beef herd has been estimated at around 100,000 head of cattle, with Riveren and Inverary estimated to be capable of holding 40,000 head of cattle, while Phoenix Park has been used as a staging post before transferring cattle to Darwin.
Hancock Prospecting has been contacted for comment.