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Thai tycoon takes majority control of Singapore's F&N

A Thai tycoon has clinched majority control of Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave (F&N), making his offer to fully takeover the company unconditional.

TCC Assets, owned by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, said in a statement late Wednesday that its stake in F&N stands at 50.92 percent after further purchases in the stock market and more shareholders accepting its offer.

With majority control now in the hands of the Thai parties, "accordingly, the F&N offer has become unconditional in all respects," the statement added.

TCC Assets is offering to buy F&N shares it does not already own at Sg$9.55 ($7.80) apiece, valuing the drinks, property and publishing conglomerate at Sg$13.75 billion.

The deadline for the rest of the shareholders to accept the offer was extended from February 4 to February 18, according to the statement.

Indonesia-led property firm Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) averted a bidding war earlier this month when it declined to match the offer by the Thais. OUE is linked to Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady.

Singapore's Straits Times newspaper has said if the takeover pushes through, it will be the biggest in the city-state's corporate history.

F&N became a takeover target after it sold off its most prized asset, Tiger Beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries, to Dutch giant Heineken in September.

It still has lucrative beverages, property and publishing operations.

Analysts believe more shareholders are likely to accept the offer as it is the only bid on the table.

The market however is closely watching whether Japanese brewer Kirin, which holds a 15 percent stake in F&N, will sell its interests or remain a minority shareholder.

Kirin had allied itself with OUE in the bidding war. Its 15 percent stake is worth more than Sg$2.0 billion at the rate offered by TCC Assets.

Charoen's TCC Group has a real estate unit, and the tycoon also owns Thai Beverage, which sells Chang beer.