OUE taps Credit Suisse to advise on Fraser and Neave bid: sources

SINGAPORE Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:12am EDT

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - OUE (OVES.SI), a property firm controlled by Indonesia's Lippo Group, has hired Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) as an adviser to help arrange billions of dollars in loans to launch a rival bid for Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave (FRNM.SI), sources said.

The move by Overseas Union Enterprises (OUE) is likely to force a group linked to Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Thailand's third-richest man, to extend an October 29 deadline for its F&N bid and consider raising its buyout offer of S$8.88 per share, or $7.2 billion.

F&N shares are already trading 4 percent above the Thai offer. Thai Beverage (TBEV.SI) and Charoen's investment vehicle, TCC Assets, collectively own nearly 34 percent of the drinks and property group.

"OUE will have to raise more than the Thais," said a source with direct knowledge of the matter. "Given the expected size of this (deal), there will be a number of banks involved."

The Thai group had lined up loans of S$11.8 billion ($9.66 billion) to bid for F&N, Reuters Basis Point reported, initially raising funds to buy a 22 percent stake and raising more from bridge loans to bid for the entire firm.

OUE is trying to muster support from Japan's Kirin Holdings (2503.T), which owns 14.9 percent of F&N, and other parties for its bid for F&N, sources previously told Reuters.

OUE's move comes less than two weeks after F&N's board rebuffed its S$1.4 billion offer for the group's hospitality and serviced apartments business.

An OUE spokeswoman declined to comment. A Hong Kong-based spokesman for Credit Suisse also declined to comment.

($1 = 1.2217 Singapore dollars)

(By Saeed Azhar in Singapore, Janeman Latul in Jakarta and Prakash Chakravarti in Hong Kong; Editing by Denny Thomas and Ken Wills)

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