Heineken has received a major boost in its battle to take control of Asia Pacific Breweries, after the board of Fraser & Neave agreed to recommend the Dutch brewer’s S$5.3bn offer to its shareholders. Heineken is looking to buy out F&N’s share in a holding company that controls APB, owner of the Tiger and Anchor beer brands.
Heineken currently owns a 32.4% stake in the holding firm, with F&N holding an identical stake. The latter also has a 7.26% direct stake in APB, which Heineken is also looking to acquire (to add to its own 9.49% direct stake in APB). If F&N’s shareholders accept Heineken’s offer, the Dutch brewer will end up with a 81.6% stake in the Asian brewer.
Such a move would give Heineken control of one of the fastest-growing brewers in the Asia/Pacific region, itself one of the fastest growing beer markets in the world. It would also balk an attempt by ThaiBev to take control of APB, by growing its stake in F&N.
The future of APB is likely to decide the future of Fraser & Neave itself, which has a wide array of interests, including a strong soft drinks and foods unit. It is being speculated that Coca-Cola and Kirin Holdings are likely to make moves to acquire those units, although neither side has commented on such reports.
NamNews - Monday 6th August 2012