Thai billionaire extends F&N offer deadline to Jan. 10

SINGAPORE Wed Jan 2, 2013 4:13am EST

SINGAPORE Jan 2 (Reuters) - Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi extended his $7.2 billion offer to take over Singapore property and drinks conglomerate Fraser and Neave Ltd (F&N) for the fifth time until Jan. 10.

Charoen owns a combined 33.6 percent of F&N through Thai Beverage PCL and TCC Assets Ltd, and is trying to increase his stake in F&N to more than 50 percent to foil a rival bid by a group led by Singapore-listed Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd.

The consortium made a S$13.1 billion ($10.7 billion), or S$9.08 per share, counterbid for F&N in November, higher than the Thais' S$8.88 offer in September to acquire F&N shares that they did not already own.

Last month, Charoen tried and failed to purchase an additional stake of 10 percent after offering S$9.60 per share to funds, sources said.

The Overseas Union-led group had set a Jan. 3 deadline for its offer. It is expected to extend its offer to as long as the fourth week of January, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, declining to be identified because the matter was confidential.

Overseas Union's chairman Stephen Riady is also the president of Indonesia's Lippo group of companies.

Kirin Holdings Co Ltd, F&N's second-biggest shareholder with a stake of around 14.8 percent, has given its conditional support to the Overseas Union group. The Japanese brewer will offer to buy F&N's food and beverage business for S$2.7 billion if the group's bid is successful.

F&N's independent financial advisor J.P.Morgan had said both the offers from Charoen and the Overseas Union group were "not compelling." The bank deemed Kirin's offer for F&N's food and beverage business as "fair but not reasonable," F&N said on Dec. 31.

F&N shares have been trading above both offer prices with the market expecting a higher offer. The stock has risen nearly 6 percent since the Overseas Union group announced its counterbid, closing at S$9.67 on Wednesday before the Thais' announcement. ($1 = 1.2215 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Eveline Danubrata and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Ryan Woo)