F&N hires Goldman to advise on Heineken's bid for beer maker

Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:52am EDT
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By Saeed Azhar and Eveline Danubrata

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave (F&N) (FRNM.SI: Quote) has hired Goldman Sachs to weigh Heineken NV's (HEIN.AS: Quote) $6 billion bid for Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) APBB.SI as the takeover battle for the maker of Tiger Beer intensifies, sources said.

The tussle for Southeast Asia's biggest beer maker comes amid a wave of industry consolidation and expanding beer sales in emerging markets, although APB's ownership structure makes this among the most complicated assets to buy.

Heineken's proposal on Friday completed a frenetic week for F&N, whose joint venture with the Dutch brewer has a 65 percent controlling stake in APB.

Heineken offered to buy out F&N's interest in APB after Singapore's Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC.SI: Quote) and an affiliated group said they had received a $3 billion bid for their stakes in F&N and APB from companies linked to Thai billionaire and founder of Thai Beverage PCL (TBEV.SI: Quote), Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

APB, whose shares surged as much as 18 percent to a record on Monday, was still trading below Heineken's offer of S$50 a share because of uncertainty over whether the deal would go through.

F&N, whose shares rose about 5 percent, said its board was considering Heineken's offer.

F&N was not immediately available to comment on Goldman's (GS.N: Quote) role as its financial advisor, while a spokeswoman for the bank declined to comment.

"There's still some uncertainty as it is not clear how F&N will react to the offer," said Goh Han Peng, an analyst at DMG & Partners Securities.   Continued...

Bottles of Tiger and Heineken beers are pictured on the shelf of a grocery store in Singapore in this July 20, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Tim Chong/Files