Viz Branz feud: Son acquires father's stake, gaining control

Viz Branz feud: Son acquires father's stake, gaining control

SINGAPORE - Control of Viz Branz, which had been the subject of a father and son feud, has passed back to the son after he acquired his father's entire stake in the cereal and beverage maker.

Viz Branz managing director Ben Chng Beng Beng acquired his father Chng Khoon Peng's 38.25 per cent stake last Friday, taking his holding in the company to 58.09 per cent.

This has triggered a mandatory unconditional offer for the remaining shares of Viz Branz, which sells instant coffee brands like Gold Roast, that he does not already own under the Singapore Code on Take-overs and Mergers.

Mr Ben Chng will offer all shareholders 78 cents for every Viz Branz share they own.

The offer is the latest twist in a long-running feud that was resolved only in June last year with the transfer of 15 per cent of the company's shares from son to father.

The settlement resulted in Mr Chng Khoon Peng owning 38.25 per cent while the younger Chng was left holding 35.89 per cent of the company.

In October, Mr Ben Chng sold about 16 per cent of his stake, sparking talks that control of Viz Branz would fall into the hands of a third party.

However, his emergence last Friday as the majority shareholder has put paid to such speculation for the time being.

But a change of control could still happen down the road, analysts say. While Mr Ben Chng has said, in the offer document, that there are currently no plans to introduce any major changes to the business, he reserves the right to review management and operations and restructure shareholdings, including "unlocking value" at an opportune time.

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