Note 2:15  PM: The article had stated that Highland still owned an additional 2000 acres after selling 6500 acres. That information was found to be incorrect and we have therefore removed it. The 6500 acres that was sold was all the property which Highland Companies owned in the area.

Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group could not cash in when The Highland Companies was forced to dismiss plans for building a mega-quarry in Ontario. We will get to that story in a moment, the current news is that the Nova Scotia-based Highland Companies has sold the 6500 acres it owned in Dufferin County, Ontario to Bonnefield Financial, a farmland investment and property management company. Oh and by the way, Highland then leased the same land back from the buyer on the same day, if you can make sense of this funny business.

Seth Klarman

Seth Klarman’s Largest Farmland Partnership

The deal between Highland and Bonnefield marks one of the largest farmland sales in Canada. The land in question is the same one where Highland’s hopes of operating a mega-quarry, which would have been the second largest limestone mine in North America, had the project materialized. The farmland is currently used for growing potatoes.

Seth Klarman’s Mega-Quarry Opposed by Environmentalists

Highland’s mega-quarry project was a bone of contention between the company and environmental groups like The North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Task Force, Inc. (NDACT)  and local farmers. While these people have been campaigning for years to preserve the wild beauty and crops of  huge acreage, Baupost’s Highland has been trying to build a mega-quarry on the farm. Last year, Highland’s potential mining project was quashed as resistance from environmentalists and farmer unions became too much to take for the firm and it withdrew the application to mine over 2316 acres of the area in November 2012.

Now Baupost Group must have netted a decent chunk of cash through today’s transaction. From what we can make of the situation, Bonnefield Financial is committed to farming all land it acquires and the company has strongly dismissed that there is any chance of mining operations whatsoever—so no hope for a $60 billion quarry to ever actualize.

Bonnefield Financial recently received funding commitments worth $300 million, and the official press release from the company notes that a portion of those funds will be used to seal the deal with Highland. So did Baupost just make hundreds of millions in the deal?

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