Tech billionaire buys NRL team owned by Russell Crowe after going on a $70MILLION spending spree


Billionaire Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has bought into Russell Crowe’s footy team after going on a $70million rural Australian property spending spree.

Cannon-Brookes has joined the Hollywood movie star and fellow billionaire James Packer as co-owners of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, with the three splitting a 25 per cent ownership. The members own the remaining portion.

The new investments take the philanthropist’s estimated wealth to $26billion, far superior to Packer’s net worth of $5billion. 

Crowe told the Daily Telegraph it was a ‘very strong move’ for the Rabbitohs and has pushed them into the upper echelon of sporting teams in the country, while Cannon-Brookes revealed he was driven to continue the club’s historic legacy. 

‘It feels awesome. I feel super-excited, super-pumped,’ the Atlassian founder said. 

‘It’s such a famous legacy club, it’s such an amazing story, it’s about continuing to write the next couple of chapters – or help write the next couple of chapters.’

Billionaire Atlassian boss Mike Cannon-Brookes, pictured here with wife Annie, has bought out a Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse stud as part of his personal mission to save the planet

Crowe told the Daily Telegraph it was a 'very strong move' for the Rabbitohs and has pushed them into the upper echelon of sporting teams in the country

Crowe told the Daily Telegraph it was a ‘very strong move’ for the Rabbitohs and has pushed them into the upper echelon of sporting teams in the country

Cannon-Brookes, who last year became the first Australian to own an American sports team after buying a minority stake in NBA side the Utah Jazz, said there was renewed pressure at leading South Sydney.

‘It’s one thing to have a really great legacy culture – ‘the oldest, proudest, loudest’ is written pretty deeply in people’s psyches – but it also comes with a sense of that culture of continuing to improve,’ he said.

Souths were booted out of the competition in 1999 after a series of financial problems, before a campaign led by Crowe began to see the game’s oldest and most successful club re-admitted.

They were re-instated in the NRL in 2002 and 12 years later won the premiership, with Crowe emotional on the field with the players following the game.

Crowe revealed he’d been working to get Cannon-Brookes involved for some time and regularly had him appearing in public wearing Rabbitohs merchandise. 

‘I’m sure it hasn’t gone unnoticed to South Sydney members and supporters that Mike wears a white Rabbitohs hat for special occasions,’ Crowe told the Telegraph.

‘This is a very strong move for the club. It connects us to the front edge of emerging technologies and business, and underlines the importance of our efforts in the community.

‘Mike understands the resonance of sport in Australia, and James and I welcome his input going forward in keeping South Sydney ahead of the curve, and a game leading organisation, on and off the field.’ 

South Sydney won the NRL premiership in 2014 with Crowe emotional on the field with the players following the game

South Sydney won the NRL premiership in 2014 with Crowe emotional on the field with the players following the game

The tech boss's latest buy is the $15.25million, 120 hectare Think Big Stud (pictured above and bleow) which was home to the 2008 Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup winner Viewed

The tech boss’s latest buy is the $15.25million, 120 hectare Think Big Stud (pictured above and bleow) which was home to the 2008 Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup winner Viewed

It's the latest acquisition in a massive $70million buy-up of property and land in the Southern Highlands, 120km south of Sydney, including RosehIll Farm, seen here above and below

It’s the latest acquisition in a massive $70million buy-up of property and land in the Southern Highlands, 120km south of Sydney, including RosehIll Farm, seen here above and below

Last week Cannon-Brookes bought out a Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse stud as part of his ambitious personal mission to make Australia greener.

The purchase of the $15.25million, 120-hectare Think Big Stud is the latest acquisition in a massive $70million buy-up of property and land in the Southern Highlands, 120km south of Sydney.  

He’s planning to transform the properties he buys into a green paradise using ‘regenerative agriculture’ – with part of his plan to encourage Australians to eat crickets and other insects. 

The 41-year-old, who is worth $20billion, has already pledged $1.5billion to climate initiatives.

‘[I] have heavy investments in controlled environment agriculture because it turns electricity into farming,’ he tweeted. 

’99 per cent less emissions from transport, 95 per cent less water and 95 per cent less land use. 

‘Renewables make it continually better.’

He has also warned the world needs to change its eating habits by adding insects to its daily diet if the planet is to feed a global population of eight billion.

‘Insects are a huge part of a sustainable future,’ he said.

‘I’m a big fan of cricket flour and insect eating in general. The logic totally stacks up – Low planet footprint, high protein, sustainable etc.

‘Always looking for interesting opportunities in that space!’

The tech boss’s latest buy, the Think Big Stud, was home to the 2008 Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup winner Viewed, as well as other Group One champions. 

 

CRUNCHING THE DATA ON EATING CRICKETS 

Cricket flour is a high protein flour

It is far less intensive to farm

It requires much less water than wheat 

It is said to taste nutty but the flavour can be easily disguised

Crickets are killed by exposing them to low temperatures and putting them into stasis. They are then freeze-dried

 You can also pan fry them for a tasty crunchy snack 

They are said to be a highly nutritious and cheap source of protein, fat, minerals, vitamins and fibre

Atlassian boss Mike Cannon-Brookes believes they are the solution to feeding the world’s 8 billion people 

The Southern Highlands property in Burradoo, near Moss Vale, was owned by Malaysian billionaire Dato Tan Chin Nam until his death in 2018, and is just the latest in a series of local acquisitions for the former Cranbrook schoolboy.

He has been snapping up a series of estates and properties in the area including the 258-hectare, 15-bedroom Wattle Ridge farm for $13million.  

Mr Cannon-Brookes also has another 15-bedroom mansion, Cooliatta, also at Burradoo, for which he paid $3.9million, as well as Rosehill Farm, worth $5.9million, and two other farms including Widgee Waa which cost him $14.5million.

He now has at least seven properties or estates in the area – and is tipped to buy more.

The controversial Hume Coal mine planned for the Moss Vale area was finally blocked by the NSW Independent Planning Commission last month.

Now the massive South Korean-owned 1300 hectare estate has also been linked to the green billionaire as his next possible acquisition.

Mr Cannon-Brookes is number three  on the AFR’s Rich List after founding the multinational company behind project management tools like Trello and Jira.

He has repeatedly slammed the Australian government for their approach to climate change – and blasted Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plan that he took to COP26.

The Atlassian boss snapped up 15-bedroom Wattle Ridge farm (pictured) and its 258 hectares for $13million

The Atlassian boss snapped up 15-bedroom Wattle Ridge farm (pictured) and its 258 hectares for $13million

Mike Canon-Brooked and his wife Annie splashed out anothe $14.5million for Widgee Waa farm (pictured)

Mike Canon-Brooked and his wife Annie splashed out anothe $14.5million for Widgee Waa farm (pictured)

‘I read all 129 pages of the pamphlet’ he tweeted. ‘It’s not worth the paper I didn’t print it on. 

‘I understand technology damn well. This isn’t a ‘technology driven approach’. It’s inaction, misdirection and avoiding choices. 

‘This is just ridiculously embarrassing.’

He and his wife Annie have vowed to transform their farmland into green-sensitive pastures. 

‘Regenerative agriculture’ aims to tackle a holistic approach to farming by careful soil and water management and rethinking the approach to fertilisers.

It aims to ‘improve the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them,’ say proponents, by rotating crops, diversifying and allowing paddocks to lie empty.

The tech boss also brings the latest technology to his farms too. 

'Regenerative agriculture' aims to tackle a holistic approach to farming (pictured) by careful soil and water management and rethinking the approach to fertilisers

‘Regenerative agriculture’ aims to tackle a holistic approach to farming (pictured) by careful soil and water management and rethinking the approach to fertilisers

‘[I do] everything I can,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald last month. 

‘I drive an electric vehicle. I live on a farm that runs almost entirely on sunlight, electricity. I have electric farm vehicles up the wazoo.’  

And he believes Australia could be the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewable electricity’ if the political will was there. 

He added: ‘We could power the entire world five times over from the Australian sun that we have. 

‘It’s a good measure of how large our country is, and how much great sun we have. We have a country almost designed to benefit most from the renewable boom. 

‘And we have 3 billion consumers nearby who can take our sunlight when we ship it up to Asia. We absolutely can be a renewable energy superpower.’ 

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