Heineken's $4.6 Billion Bid for Asia Pacific Stake Wins Shareholder Approval
By Tom Huddleston, Jr.
September 28, 2012
The AmLaw Daily
After a months-long battle, Heineken N.V. can finally celebrate its successful bid for Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd. after shareholders in Singapore conglomerate Fraser & Neave approved the Dutch company's $4.6 billion offer Friday for its nearly 40 percent stake in the beer company.
Amsterdam-based Heineken already owns 55.6 percent of Asia Pacific, which makes Tiger beer. The company's efforts to acquire the remaining shares had been stymied in recent months by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who is trying to buy out the 70 percent stake in Fraser & Neave that he does not already hold. That takeover attempt cast uncertainty upon Heineken's own bid, but an accord struck last week between the brewer and Sirivadhanabhakdi—who also controls Thai Beverage PCL—ensured that the billionaire would back Heineken's purchase of Fraser & Neave's stake in Asia Pacific.
Heineken had made an initial $4.1 billion offer for the Fraser & Neave stake in July but increased that price last month in an effort to persuade the company' shareholders to reject Sirivadhanabhakdi's overtures. Between the sweetened bid and Sirivadhanabhakdi's support, The New York Times notes, the approval of Fraser & Neave's shareholders in a Friday vote was all but assured.
(Shareholders have not yet voted on whether to accept Sirivadhanabhakdi's $7.2 billion offer for the remaining 70 percent stake in Fraser & Neave, which has a deadline of October 29, according to the Times.)
Heineken said in a statement Friday that the purchase would strengthen its foothold in emerging markets in Southeast Asia and China, while allowing the company the opportunity to market the Tiger brand internationally.
Am Law Daily sibling publication The Asian Lawyer reported in August that Duane Morris & Selvam managing director Arfat Selvam has been serving as lead legal counsel to Heineken in its attempts to increase its holdings in Asia Pacific. (The firm operates as a joint venture between Singapore firm Selvam and Am Law 100 firm Duane Morris.) Duane Morris confirmed Friday that corporate directors in the firm, Ramiro Rodriguez and Kim Seng Lo, are also advising, along with corporate associate director Parikhit Sarma.
As The Asian Lawyer reported last month, Fraser & Neave has been advised by Singapore firm Stamford Law Corporation in connection with both the sale of its Asia Pacific stake and the takeover attempts by Sirivadhanabhakdi.