Dutch beer group Heineken announced a S$5.1 billion (US$4.1 billion) bid for Singapore’s Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) to boost its presence in the region’s booming alcohol market.
Heineken said it had offered to pay S$50 a share for APB parent Fraser & Neave’s (F&N) entire stake in the brewer, a premium of S$8 over its Thursday closing price.
Analysts said the move could trigger a takeover battle with Thai and Japanese investors for control of APB, which makes Tiger beer and other brands that are popular across Asia, including the Chinese market.
F&N said in a statement it was considering the Heineken offer “which remains open for acceptance” until July 27.
“There is no certainty that any transaction or agreement will be entered into as at the time of this announcement,” it added.
Trading of shares in APB and F&N was halted at the Singapore Exchange on Friday after Heineken made its bid public.
Heineken and F&N have been longtime partners in Asia.
Heineken currently owns 41.9 per cent of APB, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest brewers, while F&N holds 40 per cent.
Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings owns 14.7 per cent of F&N.
Heineken said a takeover would give it direct access to a number of important markets including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Heineken’s bid came after Kindest Place, a company owned by a son-in-law of Thai drinks tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, offered to buy an 8.6 per cent stake in APB for S$45 a share, Dow Jones Newswires said.
Charoen’s own firm, Thai Beverage Ltd, which makes Chang beer, has also offered to buy a combined 22 per cent stake in F&N for S$2.78 billion from Singapore’s OCBC Bank and partners.
“It’s all about the Asian growth story. The beer business is very lucrative in the region.”