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Thai tycoon makes sixth F&N offer extension

Publication Date : 11-01-2013


Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi continued the cat- and-mouse game for Fraser and Neave (F&N) by extending his general offer for the firm yet again yesterday.

His S$8.88-per-share bid now expires on January 15, one day after the slated expiration of a S$9.08 rival bid from property group Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE).

The latest extension - the sixth from Charoen - further lengthens the already marathon battle for the property and beverage conglomerate.

The Thai Beverage founder launched his F&N bid in September, with a group led by OUE making a counter-bid in November that has been extended once.

Neither party has raised its initial bid despite F&N shares continuing to trade above both offers. F&N stock dipped one cent to S$9.69 yesterday.

The clock is ticking on both parties, with each having only until January 21 to revise their offer under the Singapore takeover code.

OUE's offer document went out on December 6 and has up to 60 days to run, according to the takeover rules. This gives the group until February 4 but it will need to leave any offer open for at least 14 days if it revises its bid. This means it has until January 21 to revise the offer.

Charoen's investment vehicle TCC Assets, which was the first to unveil its offer, now has its timetable aligned with OUE's.

Corporate lawyer Robson Lee said that if TCC Assets raises its offer between now and January 21, OUE could ask the Securities Industry Council for more time to revise its bid. This means that it could extend its deadline to raise its offer beyond January 21.

"Even if TCC doesn't increase, if Kirin increases its bid, OUE may also request for an extension beyond January 21 to revise its offer," said Lee.

Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings has tendered its 14.8 per cent F&N stake to OUE and agreed to buy F&N's food and beverage business for S$2.7 billion if the OUE offer is successful.

There is talk that Kirin may raise its offer for the unit. JPMorgan, the independent financial adviser to F&N's independent directors, recently called Kirin's S$2.7 billion offer "fair but not reasonable".

US$1 = S$1.22


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