Heineken lifts Tiger beer bid to $6.35 billion

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:06pm EDT
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By Eveline Danubrata and Saeed Azhar

SINGAPORE/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Heineken NV (HEIN.AS: Quote) raised its offer for Fraser and Neave's (FRNM.SI: Quote) stake in the maker of Tiger beer to $6.35 billion on Friday, seeking to fend off a Thai rival for control of a leading brand in the fast-growing Southeast Asian market.

The Dutch brewer confirmed an earlier Reuters report late on Friday night when it made a revised offer for Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) APBB.SI of 53 Singapore dollars per share. It had previously bid S$50 per share, while a Thai billionaire's group made a partial offer of S$55 per APB share.

Heineken, the world's third-biggest brewer, is seeking control of Asia Pacific Breweries to gain a larger slice of one of the last beer markets that is still growing rapidly.

But Heineken's efforts have been complicated by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Thailand's second-richest man, who wants to expand his Thai Beverage (TBEV.SI: Quote) empire in Southeast Asia.

Heineken's offer for the APB shares owned by drinks and property conglomerate Fraser & Neave (F&N), its long-time partner, would give it a total 81.6 percent stake and trigger a general offer for the rest of APB.

"I am pleased that F&N's board has agreed that our increased offer, which is now final, represents excellent value for F&N and APB shareholders," Heineken's chief executive, Jean-François van Boxmeer, said in a statement.

"Our Asian headquarters will continue to be based in Singapore, and we remain 100 percent committed to the growth and success of APB and the Tiger brand."

Heineken said F&N's board had agreed to recommend the deal to its shareholders and not to "solicit, engage in discussions or accept any alternative offer or proposal" for its interests in APB.   Continued...

A woman reaches for a can of Heineken at a restaurant in Bangkok July 20,2012. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang