Morgan Stanley M&A banker Popper to join Temasek - sources

SINGAPORE Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:53am EST

SINGAPORE Jan 11 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley's top mergers and acquisitions banker in Southeast Asia Jonathan Popper will join Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings to lead its M&A team, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

Popper's departure could affect the long-running battle for Fraser & Neave Ltd as he was involved in advising the Thai group that is keen to take over the Singapore property and soft drinks conglomerate.

Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's bid values F&N at S$12.8 billion, slightly below a rival bid from Singapore property and hotel group Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd .

Temasek, the smaller of Singapore's two sovereign funds, had S$198 billion ($162 billion) of assets as of March 31 last year. The firm said in July last year it had a "comfortable net cash position" and that it was looking to acquire assets in Europe and plough more money into energy and commodities.

A Morgan Stanley spokesman in Hong Kong confirmed Popper's departure while Temasek declined comment. The sources declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.