Singapore law firms Rajah & Tann and WongPartnership are advising on a Thai mogul’s $3 billion acquisition of a piece of Singapore’s beverage business.
 
Thai Beverage Pcl. has agreed to purchase an 18.2-percent stake in Singapore beverage group Fraser & Neave and a 7.9-percent stake in Asia Pacific Breweries, a beer-making joint venture between Fraser & Neave and Heineken NV that produced the well-known Tiger beer brand.
 
The Thai company, which produces Thailand’s Chang beer and is controlled by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, is purchasing its stakes from the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. (OCBC), Singapore’s second-largest bank, and Great Eastern Holdings Ltd., OCBC’s insurance subsidiary.
 
OCBC’s choice to sell its stake in Fraser & Neave is in line with its strategy to divest in non-core assets to refocus on its core financial business, the bank said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange. It is also planning to sell another of 8.6-percent stake in Asia Pacific Breweries to Kindest Place Groups Ltd., which belongs to Sirivadhanabhakdi’s son-in-law, Chotiphat Bijananda.
 
According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal sets up a potential struggle for control among Thai Beverage, Heineken, which owns 42 percent of Asia Pacific Breweries, and Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co., which acquired a 14.7 percent stake in Fraser & Neave two years ago.
 
WongPartnership is acting for Thai Beverage with a team led by partners Ng Wai King, Annabelle Yip, and Teo Hsiao-Huey.
 
Rajah & Tann partners Goh Kian Hwee, Serene Yeo and Cynthia Goh are advising OCBC and Great Eastern.
 
Email: jseah@alm.com