Thai tycoon gets extra time to bid for Singapore's F&N

PHOTO: Thai tycoon gets extra time to bid for Singapore's F&N

SINGAPORE - A Thai billionaire's group was given more time on Thursday to revise its offer for Singapore conglomerate Fraser & Neave (F&N) after an Indonesian rival trumped it with a US$10.7 billion bid.

TCC Assets, controlled by Thai beverage tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange before the F&N deadline was to expire Thursday that it had been given until December 11 to make a new offer.

F&N, whose businesses range from property to soft drinks and publishing, became a takeover target after selling off its most prized asset, Tiger Beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries, to Dutch giant Heineken in September.

TCC put forward an offer of S$8.7 billion, or S$8.88 a share, for the shares of F&N it does not yet own.

But Indonesian-controlled Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) tabled a S$13.1 billion (US$10.7 billon) proposal at S$9.08 per share.

Property giant OUE is controlled by Lippo Group, a major Indonesian conglomerate founded by tycoon Mochtar Riady, whose son Stephen is OUE's executive chairman.

OUE's offer for F&N was backed by Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings, which holds about 14.8 per cent of F&N and is interested in its food and beverage business, with the property interests of F&N going to OUE if they succeed.

F&N shares closed up 0.21 per cent to S$9.42 shortly before TCC's deadline extension was announced.

F&N is one of Singapore's oldest homegrown groups, tracing its origins to an aerated water business in 1883.