After five years and two price cuts, the sprawling Texas ranch of the late oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens has found a buyer.

West Texas oil-and-gas investor Bill Kent, whose Kent Cos. operates a chain of convenience stores, headed a group that purchased the larger and improved western portion of the 64,000-acre (25,900-hectare) ranch in a deal that was completed Wednesday. Cattle rancher Travis Chester bought the smaller eastern section in September.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the combined proceeds of the two transactions were within about 10% of the $170 million asking price, said longtime Pickens associate Jay Rosser at BP Capital.

That’s about a third less than what Pickens listed the ranch for when he first put it on the market in November 2017. The price was reduced to $220 million from $250 million following Pickens’s death at age 91 in September 2019, and again to $170 million in February.

“It’s amazing what Boone created,” Kent said in a phone interview. “I’m humbled. I want to honor what he’s built and continue the same approach that he had.”

Mesa Vista
Located at the southern edge of the Great Plains in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle, “Mesa Vista” includes an 11,500-square-foot (1,068-square meters) mansion built of Texas limestone, a 15,000-square-foot dog kennel, an FAA-approved runway with a hangar large enough to fit 12 aircraft and acres of grazing land and hunting habitat.

The property also features a 25,000-square-foot lodge where Pickens frequently hosted overnight guests, many with ties to his companies, the Republican Party or his alma mater, Oklahoma State University.

It’s one of several significant Texas ranches to change hands recently. In January, Taylor Sheridan of Yellowstone fame purchased the historic Four Sixes Ranch, a 266,254-acre landmark owned by the heirs of Samuel “Burk” Burnett since 1870, for an undisclosed price. It listed in December 2020 for $341 million. Also in 2020, Koch Industries listed the Texas parcel of the historic Matador Ranch for $124.45 million. The four divisions of the 131,000-acre cattle and hunting operation sold to multiple buyers.

Mesa Vista was the last major asset of the legendary oilman’s estate. Pickens began assembling it in 1971 when he acquired a few thousand acres out of foreclosure. At the time, he was a wildcatter, the chief executive officer of the nation’s largest independent oil company, Mesa Petroleum. Pickens knew the area of Roberts County well, having hunted and scouted for oil and gas throughout the region during the 1950s and ‘60s.

Water Features
It was one of the most expensive U.S. ranches on the market when it listed in 2017. Much of its value was due to Pickens’s extensive improvements, many of which were put in place after his energy hedge fund, BP Capital, made him a billionaire.

In his 2008 autobiography, “The First Billion is The Hardest,” Pickens described the logistics of building the ranch, which involved nearly 200 workers at a time onsite, 4,000 semi-trailer loads of material and 10,000 mature trees hauled in from all over.

The property is dotted with numerous water features, encompassing acres of ponds, waterfalls and aquifers—a jarring contrast to the arid climate of the Panhandle.

Pickens monetized the water rights on his property more than a decade ago when he sold them, along with some belonging to his neighbors, to the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority for $103 million.

Chester, who bought the eastern portion of Mesa Vista several months ago, made a similar move to finance his purchase. In July he sold up to 15,768 acres of water rights in the Ogallala Aquifer beneath the ranch to the city of Amarillo for almost $30 million, including closing costs.

—With assistance from Devon Pendleton.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.