Tags: coca-cola | bid | f&N | beverage

Coca-Cola Said to Be Mulling Bid for F&N Beverage Division

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 04:26 PM

Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest soft-drinks maker, is exploring a bid for the beverage business of Singapore’s Fraser and Neave Ltd., according to several people with knowledge of the matter.

The unit, including F&N’s dairy and soft-drinks businesses, may be worth as much as $3 billion, said two of the people, who asked not to be named as the process is private. Coca-Cola hasn’t made a decision and is waiting to see what other suitors do, said another person.

The operations would give Coca-Cola, led by Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent, the biggest share of soft-drink sales in Malaysia and Singapore, according to data from Euromonitor International. An approach could pit Coca-Cola against Kirin Holdings Co., Japan’s largest brewer by market value, which is also exploring a bid for the F&N business, according to these people.

Coca-Cola is deciding whether to find a partner to take F&N’s line of mixers and tonics, and may drop its plans if it can’t find one, another person said.

Kent Landers, a spokesman for Coca-Cola, said he couldn’t comment on market speculation. An e-mail to F&N’s investor relations department wasn’t immediately returned.

Coca-Cola had two banks reviewing the F&N assets, said these people. While executives in Asia are interested, a final decision to bid will be made at Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta, one person said.

APB Overtures

F&N’s soft-drinks unit includes bottled water, juice drinks, sports drinks, mixers and iced teas, according to its website. F&N also produces pasteurized milk, yogurt, and juices through its dairy business. Coca-Cola is more interested in the soft-drinks operations than dairy, said these people.

F&N also owns 40 percent of Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd., a joint venture with Heineken NV in Asia. Heineken, the world’s third-biggest brewer, last month offered as much as S$7.5 billion ($6 billion) to acquire a majority stake in APB, and has given F&N until Aug. 3 to respond.

The Dutch brewer’s July 20 bid came two days after Thai Beverage Pcl, the brewer of Chang Thai Beer, struck a deal to buy a 22 percent stake in F&N. At the same time, a company affiliated with ThaiBev’s billionaire owner Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi purchased almost 9 percent of APB.

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Wednesday, 01 August 2012 04:26 PM
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