Thai Billionaire Extends Deadline for F&N Offer
Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi extended a deadline for a $7.3 billion offer for Fraser & Neave Ltd. to a day before a higher bid from a group led by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. (OUE) is due to close.
Charoen’s TCC Assets Ltd. will extend the closing date on its S$8.88 offer for the property and beverages conglomerate a fourth time to Jan. 2, according to a stock exchange statement today. The OUE-led group on Nov. 15 topped his bid with a S$9.08 offer that closes Jan. 3.
Taking over the conglomerate’s soft-drink and real-estate businesses would help Charoen expand his Thai businesses in Asia. The billionaire agreed to buy a stake in the drinks and property company in July, setting off a race to buy its assets. F&N shares fell 0.2 percent to close at S$9.43 in Singapore trading today.
“I don’t think Charoen is willing to give F&N up; it’s about whether he can get the financing, not for the lack of ambition,” said Justin Harper, a strategist at IG Markets in Singapore. “He’ll be reluctant to give this up after seeing F&N’s value, and the synergies it’ll bring with his own businesses. With F&N, it’s full ownership or nothing.”
OUE has enlisted Kirin Holdings Co. (2503), Japan’s largest drinks maker and F&N’s second-largest shareholder, in its bid. OUE would get the company’s property business and Kirin would take the food and beverage unit.
Kirin, which has a 14.8 percent stake in F&N, has agreed to tender its shares and won’t accept any competing bid, said OUE, a property affiliate of Indonesia-based Lippo Group. 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.
F&N has said it had committed to pay the OUE consortium a break-up fee of as much as S$50 million if a competing offer is successful.
Charoen’s Thai Beverage Pcl (THBEV), the largest shareholder in F&N, dropped 1.3 percent to close at 39 Singapore cents today.
Charoen, 68, failed to win support for his S$8.88 a share bid from F&N’s board, which has said an independent adviser found that offer “not compelling, though fair.”
His unlisted business, TCC Group, has a real estate unit. Thai Beverage, which sells the Chang brand of beer, gets almost all its revenue from its home market.
Charoen’s net worth is $8.5 billion, according to data compiled and calculated through the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
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 NV (HEIA) won control of F&N’s beer unit, the maker of Tiger beer, in a deal that closed in November.
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