Heineken nears Tiger beer deal after truce with rival
By Philip Blenkinsop and Eveline Danubrata
BRUSSELS/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Dutch brewer Heineken NV (HEIN.AS: Quote) took a major step towards winning control of the Tiger beer brand and an Asian brewing network on Wednesday after a Thai rival accepted the deal.
Billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's Thai Beverage PCL (TBEV.SI: Quote) and TCC Assets Ltd said they would vote in favor of the sale of Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave's (FRNM.SI: Quote) stake in Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd APBB.SI to Heineken.
In return, Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer, will not make an offer for shares in F&N.
The deal between the Thais, the largest F&N shareholders with a near 31 percent stake, and the Dutch brewer ended a two-month standoff involving competing offers for control of APB.
After the agreement, Heineken also said it would buy an 8.6 percent direct stake in APB owned by Sirivadhanabhakdi's son-in-law through his company Kindest Place Group.
Heineken, already sharing control of APB through an 81-year-old venture with F&N, now seems set to take full control of the brewer and protect its turf in Asia's fast-growing beer market.
"This is settlement talk, to prevent any further escalation of the fight for F&N or APB, which will cost more for both parties if it goes on," said Goh Han Peng, an analyst at DMG & Partners Securities in Singapore.
"Heineken would henceforth be able to complete consolidating APB. ThaiBev would get the balance of the F&N business and give it to a platform or distribution channel to regional markets in Southeast Asia." Continued...