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OUE, Charoen Extend F&N Offer as Takeover Deadline Nears

A group led by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. and rival bidder Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi extended the deadline for their offers for Fraser & Neave Ltd. to Jan. 21, the deadline for final bids for the Singapore property and beverages company.

The OUE-led group on Nov. 15 made a S$9.08 per share bid for F&N, topping an earlier S$8.88 a share offer from Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. Both have until Jan. 21 for final offers under Singapore’s takeover rules, according to F&N spokeswoman Elaine Lim.

Charoen agreed to buy a 22 percent stake in F&N in July, setting off a fight for the company’s soft drink and property assets and prompting the sale of its beer unit to Heineken NV. F&N shares have traded above both offers in a sign that investors expect the bidding war to escalate.

F&N rose 0.2 percent to close at S$9.70 in Singapore.

OUE extended its deadline to 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, according to a stock exchange statement yesterday. Charoen extended his offer to Jan. 21 today, according to a stock exchange statement after the close.

OUE, a Singapore-based property company, has teamed with Kirin Holdings Co., Japan’s largest drinks maker, in its bid. OUE would get the company’s property business and Kirin would take the food and beverage unit.

Kirin has agreed to tender its 14.8 percent stake in F&N, OUE has said. The Japanese brewer, Asia’s biggest beverage maker, will offer S$2.7 billion for F&N’s food and beverage business if OUE wins enough support to complete the takeover.

Initial Stake

The Thai billionaire agreed to pay S$2.78 billion for an initial 22 percent stake in F&N by acquiring the stock held by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and its partners. He later acquired more shares to take him near the threshold to make a bid.

Charoen’s offer for F&N valued the rest of the company at about S$8.9 billion on September 13, the day his TCC assets offered S$8.88 a share for the 69.6 percent of F&N it didn’t already control.

OUE Executive Chairman Stephen Riady is a son of Mochtar Riady, who controls Indonesia’s Lippo Group, with businesses ranging from real estate and financial services to food across Asia.

OUE, which gets about 65 percent of its revenue from hotel operations, is planning at least one investment a year in Singapore to boost property holdings that include office towers, luxury apartments and malls, Stephen Riady said in an interview in August.

Heineken won control of F&N’s brewery unit, the maker of Tiger beer, in a deal that closed in November.

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