F&N stand-off extends into 2013 as Thais keep offer unchanged

F&N stand-off extends into 2013 as Thais keep offer unchanged

SINGAPORE - The market may have to wait until the new year for Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi to fire back in the five-month-old takeover battle for Fraser and Neave (F&N).

Mr Charoen's privately controlled TCC Assets yesterday extended its general offer for F&N to Jan 2 while keeping its bid price at $8.88, according to a filing with the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

"They are clearly just buying time while they continue to consider their options," said Jonathan Foster, director of global special situations at Religare Capital Markets.

Mr Charoen's offer remains lower than a competing $9.08 per share offer from a consortium led by Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE).

The OUE offer lapses at the close of trading on Jan 3.

F&N shares closed at $9.43 yesterday, 0.2 per cent or two cents lower.

Both tenders are conditional upon the offerers gaining majority control of F&N, a conglomerate with businesses in property development and beverages.

As at Nov 22, Mr Charoen's bloc, which includes listed brewer Thai Beverage Public Co, controlled about 33.6 per cent of F&N's shares, and had secured acceptances worth an additional 1.4 per cent.

The OUE consortium does not hold any F&N shares at the moment, but it has secured an undertaking of acceptance from Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings, which holds 15 per cent of F&N's shares.

The market had been expecting Mr Charoen to raise his offer yesterday, not simply extend it.

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