Silicon Valley billionaire, Tom Siebel, founder of CRM vendor Siebel Systems, has sold his 62,000-acre Montana cattle ranch for $45 million.
Siebel, software entrepreneur and a former Oracle executive, bought the N Bar Ranch, located 100 miles north of Billings on the edge of the Snowy Mountains and 35 miles southeast of Lewistown, ten years ago.
The buyer is a Texas domestic limited partnership principally owned by brothers Dan and Farris Wilks, the chief executive officer of Frac Tech Services, an oil-drilling equipment-maker located in Cisco, Texas.
The Wall Street Journal's Private Properties quoted the oil-field drilling-service's spokeswoman as saying that they own other ranches and have a long-time love for the land...and intend to continue the ranch's current operations.
The N Bar Ranch has a carrying capacity of over 2,000 animals and extensive operating improvements.
The ranch also features a rich and diverse landscape of sprawling creek bottom meadows, meandering riparian corridors, rolling timber, and open range that provides the provides flexibility to support a traditional cow and yearling operation, according to nbarmontana.com.
In addition to operating as one of the finest working ranches in the Rocky Mountain West, the ranch offers extensive wildlife and fishery resources. Elk and deer roam timbered draws. Antelope, wild turkey, pheasant and other upland birds browse the benches and inhabit the bottomlands, along with a rich variety of non-game animals, raptors, and songbird species. The ranch also boasts miles of perennial streams and wild trout habitat.
The ranch traces it roots to the celebrated open range cattle era of the American West. In 1878, the Newman brothers left Nebraska trailing 12,000 N Bar-branded cattle to Montana with a contract in hand to provide meat for the Indian reservations.
In 1885, Tom Cruse, an Irish immigrant who made his fortune in the gold fields around Helena, Montana, bought the Montana Sheep Company - including the 2,842 acres along Flatwillow Creek where the ranch’s headquarters are now located.
The legendary, brutal winter of 1886-1887, forced the Newman brothers out of business and Cruse bought the Newman's remaining herd and the N Bar brand. Over the next 25 years, Cruse built a cattle empire stretching from the lands of the ranch over 100 miles to the east to Jordan, Montana.
Anton Holter, a Norwegian immigrant and businessman who made his fortune on the Montana frontier, and a group of prominent local investors purchased the ranch from Tom Cruse in 1913, a year before Cruse's death. Holter and his family - joined by the Milburn brothers in 1930 - owned the ranch for 50 years.
Under the vision and stewardship of Jack Milburn the ranch evolved into a modern, world-class cattle operation. The ranch grew from 10,000 to 40,000 deeded acres and its reputation was established through the N Bar line of purebred Aberdeen Angus cattle.
Milburn also instituted an annual cattle sale at the ranch, which solidified the N Bar's brand and reputation and integrated the ranch into the fabric of the community as well as the culture of the region.
The ranch lies at an elevation of 4,200 to 5,500 feet in the grassy foothills rising to the northeast slopes of the Snowy Mountains.
The largest of unique valley areas, the Flatwillow Creek Valley contains more than 2,200 acres of meadows, irrigated by many of the Flatwillow's most senior water rights.
The ranch supports 1,500 head of cattle and the land has 62,091 total acreage includes about 51,409 deeded acres and 10,682 acres of leased lands.
The N Bar Headquarters compound, established in 1885, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to the listing, the office, bunkhouse, and barn at the headquarters are not open to the public and still in active operation.
Joel Leadbetter of Hall & Hall had the listing.