Thai Billionaire Extends Deadline for F&N Offer
A group led by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. (OUE) extended a deadline for a S$13.1 billion ($10.7 billion) bid for Fraser & Neave Ltd., prolonging its battle with a Thai billionaire for control of the Singapore conglomerate.
The OUE-led group pushed back the date on its S$9.08 per share bid to Jan. 14, according to a stock exchange statement today. Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi yesterday moved the closing date on his S$8.88 per share offer until Jan. 10.
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. (HEIA) F&N shares have traded above both offers in a sign that investors expect the bidding war to escalate.
F&N traded 0.2 percent lower to S$9.65 at 2:37 p.m. in Singapore trading today. OUE, a Singapore-based property company, has enlisted Kirin Holdings Co. (2503), 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.
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.
F&N’s board has said an independent adviser has found both offers “not compelling, though fair.”
Charoen’s unlisted business, TCC Group, has a real estate unit. His Thai Beverage, which sells the Chang brand of beer, gets almost all its revenue from its home market. Charoen, 68, has a net worth of about $8.9 billion today based on current calculations from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
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. If successful, it would be the biggest ever acquisition of a Singapore-based company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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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