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SINGAPORE Dec 17 Thai beer baron Charoen
Sirivadhanabhakdi has failed in a bid to increase his stake in
Singapore's 129-year-old beverage company Fraser and Neave Ltd
, two sources said.
Talks between the Thai group and institutional investors
began late on Friday with Citigroup trying to broker the deal,
sources with direct knowledge of the transaction told Reuters.
The sources declined to be named as the talks were not public.
The potential sellers included at least two Hong Kong-based
hedge funds which rejected the Thai deal, sources said. It was
not clear why the funds backed off.
A Citigroup spokesman in Hong Kong declined to comment.
Charoen has been locked in a bidding war since September
against a group led by Overseas Union Enterprise and
its chairman Stephen Riady who is also the president of
Indonesia's Lippo group of companies.
The Thai group, which already owns 34 percent of F&N,
includes Thai Beverage and TCC Assets, Charoen's
This latest stakebuilding attempt at S$9.60 a share would
have taken Charoen's holding above 44 percent, making it
difficult for any rival bidder to upstage him.
Had the bid for a further 10 percent, made by a group linked
to Charoen, been successful, it would also have forced it to
raise its existing $7.2 billion or S$8.88 a share for F&N.
One source with direct knowledge of the matter said:
"Because they didn't buy any shares, they didn't have to make a
The Thais current takeover offer for F&N which expires on
Jan 2 is likely to be extended, sources said.
The Thai group said in a statement: "Shareholders should,
note that unless a formal announcement is made, there is no
certainty that any transaction would materialise and/or any
revision of the offer price would be made."
F&N shares have surged more than 50 percent so far this
year, outperforming an 18 percent gain in the benchmark Straits
Times Index. On Monday, they edged up 0.6 percent to
close at S$9.63.
Morgan Stanley, the financial adviser for Charoen's
TCC Assets and Thai Beverage, had advised the Thai group not to
do the transaction, one of the sources said.
Morgan Stanley could not be immediately reached for comment.
F&N has property assets worth more than S$8 billion ($6.55
billion) as well as soft drinks and printing businesses.
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Eveline Danubrata; Editing by
Anshuman Daga and Mike Nesbit)