Mining and agribusiness billionaire, Gina Rinehart's joint venture cattle business, S. Kidman and Company, has branched into the rag trade, buying the popular rural fashion brand, Driza-Bone.
After almost a month of negotiations, Kidman and Co will acquire the much-loved outdoor oilskin coat label from Melbourne-based country boots and clothing business, Propel Group.
Propel, the parent group for the RB Sellars clothing and Rossi Boots ranges, has owned the Driza-Bone since 2017, after it had previously moved to offshore ownership with British motorcycle clothing company, Belstaff, in 1989.
The brand went through more ownership changes in the following two decades, including being bought by Victoria's Lempriere family, which later became a major investor in Propel.
No price details about the latest sale deal have been revealed, although the new owner has already flagged plans to spend more money bolstering Driza-Bone's global market presence.
Kidman committed to "upholding and nurturing Driza-Bone's legacy of Australian craftsmanship while also propelling it to new heights".
Mrs Rinehart's Kidman and Co move comes just a fortnight after fellow West Australian mining and agribusiness magnate, Andrew Forrest and his wife, Nicola, bought Australia's national hat brand, Akubra.
Akubra hats, made in Kempsey in NSW, will complement the Forrests' 2020 investment in the famous RM Williams rural clothing portfolio.
The 125-year-old Driza-Bone brand currently encompasses a range of coats, jackets and vests for adults, children, and even pets.
It won international attention as a fashion statement in the 1980s after enjoying starring roles on the big screen in "The Man from Snowy River" and later as part of the official 2000 Olympic Games uniform worn by Australian athletes.
We are honoured to carry forward Driza-Bone's pioneering legacy while supporting its growth- Gina Rinehart, S. Kidman and Company
Mrs Rinehart, the executive chairman of S. Kidman and Company, said Driza-Bone's coats were iconic and their association with the outback company and her own family made investing in the fashion label's future a natural fit.
"We are honoured to carry forward Driza-Bone's pioneering legacy while supporting its growth," she said.
Ms Rinehart's Hancock Agriculture business bought 66 per cent of the historic Kidman pastoral empire in late 2016 from descendants of famous cattle king, Sidney Kidman, in a partnership with 33pc Chinese-based investor, Shanghai Cred.
She said the Driza-Bone brand was not just part of life in rural Australia, it had been intertwined with pivotal moments in Australian history.
"From sheltering soldiers at Gallipoli during World War I, to being worn in magnificent films and by our Olympians, Driza-Bone has been an emblem of Australian quality and resilience," she said.
This marks an exciting chapter for S. Kidman Co and Hancock as we enter the clothing and apparel industry- Adam Giles, S. Kidman and Company
Kidman chief executive officer, Adam Giles, said the acquisition contract, signed last week, ensured Driza-Bone remained back in Australian hands, while also uniting two iconic Australian brands.
"This marks an exciting chapter for S. Kidman Co and Hancock as we enter the clothing and apparel industry," he said.
"We will bolster Driza-Bone's expansion strategies, enabling the brand to venture into new international markets while staying true to its Australian heritage and commitment to superior quality."
Driza-Bone's water-resistant coats were first developed in New Zealand by Scottish immigrant Edward Le Roy using sail canvas before he brought his skills and early product design to Australia.
The coats were adopted as workwear by drovers and stockmen nationwide and the style refined to the designs widely known today.
Brisbane-based fashion designer and retailer, Keri Craig-Lee, whose family also owns the big beef production and processing business, Australian Country Choice, said the Kidman announcement was good news for both the agriculture and fashion industries and would continue Driza-Bone's success story.
"Driza-Bone is a legendary brand, quintessential to Australia, known nationally for over 120 years," she said.
"From my perspective as a fashion designer and retailer for 45 years, it has made its mark and has been a very important asset in men's and women's wardrobes.
"Driza-Bone as part of our bush heritage has achieved major success looking after country men and women during our harsh winters, but then also allowing them to go into town making a practical, comfortable and stylish impression.
"We all love a great success story - it's what history is built upon."