The Land Report

Spring 2016

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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84 The LandReport | S P R I N G 2 0 1 6 LANDREPORT.COM DEA L O F T H E C E N T U RY 2 0 15 T H E L A N D R E P O R T O n each of those transactions, Kroenke had relied on Leadbetter's counsel and the insights of Sam Connolly, general manager of Kroenke Ranches. Together the three are an effective team. Leadbetter demonstrated his savvy by not wasting Kroenke's time discussing the ranch during the previous decade. "'Stan,' I said, 'I talked to Sam Middleton. This thing is on the market, and he thinks the timing is right.'" "'Well, let's go ahead and get registered,' Stan told me." So began a stealth operation that would last more than a year. In April 2015, Middle- ton and Uechtritz flew to Denver to meet with Kroenke, Connolly, Leadbetter, and Mike Hall of Hall and Hall. Few knew that Kroenke got his first look at the great ranch the very next month. The cat-and-mouse game that the locals had been playing didn't work with Kroenke and his team. Instead of flying into Vernon, they landed some 60 miles east in Wichita Falls. No one at the Herring Coffee Shop would be the wiser. For Uechtritz and Middleton, the next six months were a whirlwind of conference calls, meetings, and trips to Vernon. "Stan's in-house advance team worked long and hard on this deal under the radar for nine months at least before Stan was revealed at the last minute," Uechtritz says. Still wary of spooking the deal, he had a colleague, Will Beuck, facilitate due diligence by setting up a data room not in Vernon but in Dallas at the Ritz-Carlton. In September 2015, six parties presented $15 million earnest money deposits. The following month, four finalists were invited to Fort Worth to meet the heirs and present their vision for the next chapter in the history of the Waggoner Ranch. According to Uechtritz, the deciding factor wasn't about money or resources. It was Kroenke's unflinching sense of stewardship and responsibility: "Stan looked them in the eye and said, 'I'm a committee of one. I don't have any partners. I'm a committee of one.' In my mind, that did it." Waggoner Ranch Texas Seller: W.T. Waggoner Estate Ranch Seller's Agents: Bernard Uechtritz, Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Real Estate, International Icon Properties & Sam Middleton Chas. S. Middleton & Son Buyer: Kroenke Ranches Buyer's Agent: Joel Leadbetter, Hall and Hall Waggoner Ranch cattle have been 60 percent Hereford and 40 percent Angus/Hereford and Brangus/Hereford. They are already being augmented by Kroenke Ranches' world-class commercial Angus herd.

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