Jan 17

Billionaire brothers buying Montana ranches (Billings Gazette, Jan 13, 2013):

Near where the borders of Fergus, Musselshell and Golden Valley counties meet south of the Little Snowy Mountains, two billionaire Texas brothers have quietly collected more than 177,000 acres of ranch land in the last two years.

But that’s only a portion of the property that Farris, 60, and Dan Wilks, 56, have accumulated in Montana. In all, they own more than 276,000 acres in seven counties in the eastern half of the state. That’s 431 square miles, more than half the size of Silver Bow County.

Owning such large amounts of land puts them in the big league of Montana landowners. Turner Enterprises, owned by former media mogul Ted Turner, has 149,000 acres in Montana holdings. It was announced last week that Stanley Kroenke, a billionaire who is married to a Wal-Mart heir, bought the 124,000-acre Broken O Ranch near Augusta that had been listed for $132 million. According to Forbes magazine, Kroenke also owns the Cedar Creek Ranch near Ennis and the PV Ranch near Hysham.

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