Representatives for the renowned W.T. Waggoner Ranch on Feb. 9 announced that Judge Dan Mike Bird of the 46th Judicial District Court has allowed the Waggoner’s owners to proceed with a private transaction under which Stan Kroenke, American businessman, professional sports team owner and rancher, will become the Waggoner’s new owner. This historic transaction will be the first-ever sale of the Waggoner, an approximately 535,000-acre estate which was established in 1849 and spans across six Texas counties and almost 800 square miles. It is currently the largest ranch under one fence in the United States, and includes thousands of cattle, hundreds of horses and oil wells, and 30,000 acres of farmland. Terms of the potential transaction were not disclosed.
“This is an incredible opportunity and an even greater responsibility,” said Kroenke. “We are honored to assume ownership of the Waggoner – a true Texas and American landmark – and are deeply committed to continuing the proud legacy of W.T. ‘Tom’ Waggoner, his family and his descendants. Our gratitude to them and to the many parties involved in this process is immense. We will continue to preserve and protect this uniquely American treasure.”
Bradley Wharton, a representative of the Wharton heirs to the Waggoner Ranch, stated, “Amid an emotional and, at times, trying sale process, we never lost sight of what we wanted in a new owner of this historic property: a keen sense of tradition, a love of the land, and loyalty to the people who work here. Measured by these standards, we are confident that Stan will be a great steward of the Waggoner legacy going forward.”
Helen Biggs Willingham, representing the Biggs heirs, added, “The next chapter in the life of the Waggoner now begins under extraordinarily capable and committed new ownership in the form of Stan Kroenke. All Waggoner shareholders express our deep appreciation to him, and to the brokers and lawyers and advisors who worked relentlessly to make this watershed day possible.”
Electra Biggs Moulder, namesake of her mother Electra Waggoner Biggs and great aunt Electra Waggoner Wharton, commented, “I am so pleased that the legacy of the Estate is passing to the right man, who has shown a commitment to conservation and the Waggoner way of life.”
Sam Connolly, general manager of the United States division of Kroenke Ranches, explained, “As with all of our ranch properties, the land comes first. We are excited about integrating this second-to-none ranch with our ranch holdings in the United States and in Canada. This acquisition ties in perfectly with our cattle, wheat, horse and natural resource operations. We look forward to learning from and building on the remarkable heritage of this crown jewel of ranching.”
With properties in the Western and Southwestern United States and Canada, Kroenke Ranches is one of the largest conglomerates of working ranches in the world.