MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

F&N bidding clock ticks for OUE

Rival bidder has improved offer.

IG Markets Singapore noted:

The drawn-out sparring match for the prized asset of Fraser & Neave has reached the final round with the Thais delivering what could be the knockout punch.

Thai tycoon Charoen may finally walk away with the spoils following Friday’s improved offer of $9.55 a share for F&N. This 7.5% improvement on his previous $8.88 deal is a body blow to rival OUE which has until 4pm today to lift itself off the canvas and hit back.

The two rivals have been battling it out since last November although most rounds have been poorly-contested and lacking any sort of fight.

But the SIC livened things up by ringing the bell for the final round last week forcing the two middleweights to land their final blows. So far only Charoen has shown any fighting spirit as he improved his offer which will expire on 4 February.

While $9.55 packs a bigger punch it is still in the lower half of the price range of $8.58 - $11.56 that F&N’s advisers value the company at.

By all accounts, OUE had a busy weekend mulling over the latest offer as it spoke to its partner Kirin and backers Farallon Capital about a fresh bid.

Whether it can land a bigger blow remains to be seen, leaving the Thais in the driving seat this morning. And with the Thais not stating this is their final offer, they could be prepared for OUE to beat the count and attempt once last flourish to land the winning punch.

But Charoen is definitely pumped up having increased his stake in F&N to 40.5% as it takes even more control of the property and soft drinks conglomerate.

While we wait for today’s deadline, traders in Singapore can at least pump their fists that global stock markets are in a healthy place.

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