Trading halts in battle for Tiger Beer brewer

Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave (F&N) and Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) both requested trading halts Friday as a multi-billion-dollar battle for the makers of Tiger Beer heated up.

The two companies announced the halts before the Singapore Exchange opened, both citing "pending release of an announcement" as the reason.

APB, which makes Tiger Beer, is the target of a takeover battled between Dutch brewer Heineken and companies linked to Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

F&N directly and indirectly owns a 40 percent stake in APB, which long-time partner Heineken has offered to buy for Sg$50 a share, or Sg$5.1 billion ($4.1 billion).

F&N's board accepted the offer and agreed to recommend it to shareholders, but Charoen's Thai Beverage and a company owned by his son-in-law, Kindest Place, have mounted counter-moves.

Kindest Place offered to buy F&N's 7.3 percent direct stake in APB for Sg$55 a share -- 10 percent more than the Heineken proposal.

At the same time, Thai Beverage has steadily built up its stake in F&N, raising it from 24 percent to 26.4 percent, giving the firm a bigger say on the Heineken offer.

Heineken already owns 42 percent of APB and is seeking full control in a bid to expand its presence in the fast-growing Asian market.

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