* The two bidders for F&N can revise existing offers by Jan.
* SIC will begin auction process on Jan. 21 if necessary
* F&N shares close at S$9.70, vs highest bid of S$9.08
(Adds SIC deadline, background)
SINGAPORE, Jan 15 A battle between a Thai
billionaire and an Indonesian tycoon for control of Singaporean
soft drinks-to-property group Fraser and Neave is a
step nearer ending after a Sunday deadline was set for raised
Investors in F&N expect to receive a substantially higher
offer - the company's shares closed up 0.2 percent at S$9.70 on
Tuesday to value it at S$14.0 billion ($11.4 billion) and remain
well above the best bid yet made, S$9.08.
Singapore's Securities Industry Council said on Tuesday that
if, after the deadline, a competitive environment still existed
between a consortium backed by Indonesian Stephen Riady and TCC
Assets Ltd - a Thai firm controlled by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi
- then an auction will begin on Monday.
TCC Assets Ltd has offered S$8.88 per F&N share to acquire
stock it does not already own. The consortium led by Riady's
Overseas Union Enterprise is willing to pay S$9.08.
The Sunday deadline is a day ahead of final dates set by the
two groups for their respective takeover bids.
SIC said if one party made a revised bid in any auction on
Monday, Jan. 21, the other bidder can announce its own revised
offer on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Charoen is F&N's largest shareholder with a 34.2 percent
stake, held through TCC Assets Ltd and Thai Beverage PCL
Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings Co Ltd, F&N's
second-biggest shareholder with a 14.8 percent stake, has given
conditional support to the Overseas Union group.
It will offer to buy F&N's food and beverage business for
S$2.7 billion if the Overseas Union group's bid is successful.
($1 = 1.2264 Singapore dollars)
($1 = 1.2252 Singapore dollars)
(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Dan