Singapore Watchdog Sets Sunday Deadline for F&N Bids

Range of Fraser & Neave Ltd. (F&N) products
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Range of Fraser & Neave Ltd. (F&N) products

A battle between a Thai billionaire and an Indonesian tycoon for control of Singaporean soft drinks-to-property group Fraser and Neave is a step nearer ending after a Sunday deadline was set for raised bids.

Investors in F&N expect to receive a substantially higher offer - the company's shares closed up 0.2 percent at S$9.70 on Tuesday to value it at S$14.0 billion ($11.4 billion) and remain well above the best bid yet made, S$9.08.

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Singapore's Securities Industry Council said on Tuesday that if, after the deadline, a competitive environment still existed between a consortium backed by Indonesian Stephen Riady and TCC Assets Ltd - a Thai firm controlled by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi - then an auction will begin on Monday.

TCC Assets Ltd has offered S$8.88 per F&N share to acquire stock it does not already own. The consortium led by Riady's Overseas Union Enterprise is willing to pay S$9.08.

The Sunday deadline is a day ahead of final dates set by the two groups for their respective takeover bids.

SIC said if one party made a revised bid in any auction on Monday, Jan. 21, the other bidder can announce its own revised offer on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

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Charoen is F&N's largest shareholder with a 34.2 percent stake, held through TCC Assets and Thai Beverage PCL.

Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings, F&N's second-biggest shareholder with a 14.8 percent stake, has given conditional support to the Overseas Union group.

It will offer to buy F&N's food and beverage business for S$2.7 billion if the Overseas Union group's bid is successful.