Thai billionaire makes €5.7bn offer for firm
THAI BILLIONAIRE Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi made a S$9 billion (€5.7 billion) bid for the 70 per cent of Fraser and Neave he does not control, potentially blocking Heineken NV from buying the company’s beer business.
TCC Assets, linked to Charoen’s Thai Beverage Pcl, offered S$8.88 (€5.60) a share for Fraser and Neave. The bid is 4.3 per cent more than Fraser and Neave’s closing price on Thursday and values the company at $10.3 billion.
Mr Charoen (68) set off a scramble for Fraser and Neave and its assets when he agreed to buy a stake in the firm in July. Heineken countered with a bid for Fraser and Neave’s 40 per cent stake in Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries, which the Dutch brewer already partially owns.
Mr Charoen’s latest bid is ahead of a September 28th meeting where Fraser and Neave’s shareholders will vote on Heineken’s proposal. “The fact that they are making an offer at this stage seems to suggest that they want a bigger say in the vote,” said Goh Han Peng, analyst at DMG and Partners Research Pte in Singapore. “They could scuttle the deal if they want to hold on to APB.”
“One drastic alternative if Heineken doesn’t want to work with Thai Bev is to make a counter offer for Fraser and Neave either by themselves or with a partner,” said Mr Goh.
Mr Charoen’s bid is the largest announced by a Thai company in at least 10 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Buying Fraser and Neave would widen his influence in Asia. His brewer, which is Fraser and Neave’s largest shareholder with a 29 per cent stake, got almost all its revenue from Thailand in 2011.
Mr Charoen could also want to break up the 129-year-old conglomerate, which has soft-drink and real-estate businesses, according to Justin Harper, Singapore-based market strategist at IG Markets.
Japan’s Kirin Holdings, which has a 15 per cent stake in Fraser and Neave, has said it is interested in its soft-drink and food businesses. Coca-Cola has explored a bid for the drinks operations, people with knowledge of the matter have said. Kirin and Coca-Cola spokespeople declined to comment. – (Bloomberg)