After all, it seems that the long battle for Fraser & Neave Ltd. is over. Apparently, a group led by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. decided to withdraw from the race as it did not increase its bid to match Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s offer of approximately $11.2 billion for the Singapore-listed property and beverage company. Thailand’s third richest man needs only to gain the shareholders’ and regulatory approvals for his bid of S$9.55 per share for Fraser & Neave Ltd.
Successful bid for F&N
Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is one step closer to the takeover of Fraser & Neave after the long and exhausting battle against Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd., the consortium led by mogul Stephen Riady and backed by Kirin Holdings Co. which happens to be F&N’s second-largest shareholder with a nearly 15 percent stake. In this long-lasting contest, Thai beer tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi decided to increase its offer for the 130-year-old Fraser & Neave Ltd. to as much as S$9.55 per share, or $7.78, from roughly S$8.88 per share, exceeding the $9.08 per share offer made by the group led by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. The latest bid from Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi was sweetened by approximately 7.5 percent, compared to his previous one.
But Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi had been preparing for the takeover of Fraser & Neave for some time before he finally got it. He is the owner a 40 percent stake in the 130-year-old company which has assets from soft drinks to properties. The stake was initially acquired as the Thai billionaire could gain an advantage in the battle for the biggest takeover of a Singapore-based company.
Analysts note that the price per share might have been much higher, yet S$9.55 is not a bad offer at all. They underline that everything indicates that the majority of F&N shareholders would be satisfied with the offer. Experts also note that Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is strongly convinced that his latest bid was generous enough to be accepted.
News on the withdrawal of the group led by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. was welcomed with big relief and satisfaction by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. The $11.2 acquisition of Fraser & Neave is certainly the biggest takeover in Southeast Asia. The takeover is aimed at adding popular names and brands, not to mention distribution networks to Thai Beverage Plc which is owned by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi and led by his son. Certainly, 130-year-old Fraser & Neave Ltd. was a tidbit for the Thai billionaire as the company is said to be a leader in Singapore and Malaysia’s soft drink markets.
Thai Beverage Plc, which is led by the Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s son, is likely to get better access to soft-drink markets of Fraser & Neave Ltd. At last Thai billionaire Sirivadhanabhakdi succeeded and his vision of expansion might actually come true despite the failure of the acquisition of Asia-Pacific Breweries. What is underlined is the fact that the takeover of Fraser & Neave Ltd. is in the line with the company’s expansion strategy.
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