Fight! Fight! Playground fights and shareholders egging on bid battles have a lot in common. Southeast Asia’s biggest cross-border battle, for Singapore’s Fraser & Neave, should be a punchy crowd pleaser. But it risks being a drawn-out disaster.
That would be bad for F&N’s shareholders and for Singapore’s standing as an alternative to Hong Kong. This week TCC Assets, a vehicle of the Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, extended its offer of $8.88 ($7.20) a share for F&N to Dec. 11. That takes it five days past the deadline for OUE – the counter-bidder with links to Indonesia’s Lippo Group and the Riady family – to publish its $9.08 full offer. But in doing that, Mr. Charoen has passed Singapore’s 60-day deadline, where bids lapse after a full offer is published. Neither TCC nor Singapore’s Securities Industry Council (SIC), the takeover guardian, has explained why. Probably, as happens elsewhere, TCC’s timetable has been reset to match OUE’s to make it fairer for shareholders comparing offers.