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Movie Ranch Unsold as Auction Bids Fall Short

June 15, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Owners of the nation’s largest movie ranch indicated Monday they were negotiating the possible sale of the property with various domestic and foreign investors, after failing to receive satisfactory bids in a weekend auction.

The owners, led by Santa Monica-based Watt Enterprises, had said in advance they were seeking between $30 million and $40 million for the 6,711-acre Big Sky ranch in the western San Fernando Valley.

Weekend bidding was done on four separate parcels, but none of the packages would have netted the desired amount, said spokesman Rick Minyard.

Minyard said the owners were talking with about two dozen investors, including foreigners who could not attend the auction, who had indicated an interest in buying the entire property.

The ranch has been the setting of a number of movies and television programs, including ″The Thornbirds,″ ″Gunsmoke,″ ″Little House on the Prairie″ and ″Rawhide.″

Watt and partners bought the property in 1982 for an undisclosed price.

Watt was on the verge of selling the property to an undisclosed West German company for $35 million cash last month, but the deal subsequently fell through. Minyard said he couldn’t say whether the West German company was one of the investors with whom negotiations still were being held.

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