Family fight clouds Kirin's Brazil buyout -report

Thu Aug 4, 2011 11:41am EDT

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SAO PAULO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A family feud could put at risk the $2.6 billion takeover of Schincariol, Brazil's second-largest brewer, by Japan's Kirin Holdings Co (2503.T), according to a newspaper report on Thursday.

Valor Economico newspaper reported that minority shareholders holding 49.55 percent of Schincariol had filed a suit to block a deal between their cousins, owners of the controlling stake, and Kirin, which is making its first foray into the fast-growing South American economy. [ID:nL3E7J13TG]

Valor, citing a legal document, reported that the minority shareholders, siblings from the Schincariol family, claimed the sale violated their right of first refusal for the shares.

The family dispute traces back to how the burgeoning brewer was divided up by the prior generation.

A spokesman for Schincariol told Reuters on Thursday the deal with Kirin had been closed, respecting the rights of all shareholders involved.

The feud highlights legal risks to foreign investors in Brazilian companies making the transition from family businesses to global brands as booming domestic demand in Latin America's largest economy draws international attention.

Valor said the long-standing threat of legal action by the minority shareholders had scared away other potential bidders for Schincariol in recent years.

A highly competitive and shrinking home market has forced Kirin and rival Asahi Group Holdings (2502.T) to look abroad for growth, but a lack of targets in consolidating global beer markets has made expansion tough for the Japanese brewers.

Critics say Kirin is overpaying for a problematic asset in a highly competitive market. [ID:nN1E7710IJ]

(Reporting by Brad Haynes and Brian Winter; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Ted Kerr)

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