Dutch brewer Heineken took a major step towards taking control of Asia's Tiger beer by securing acceptance from a Thai billionaire who had been viewed for weeks as a spoiling rival.
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's ThaiBev and TCC Assets Ltd agreed to support the sale of Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave's stake in Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd to Heineken NV .
In return, Heineken will not make a general offer for shares in F&N, according to the joint statement by the Thai companies and the Dutch brewer released late Tuesday European time and in the early hours on Wednesday in Asia.
Charoen, whose companies control just below 31 percent of F&N, launched a $7.2 billion offer last week to buy the rest of F&N, a move seen at the time as possibly derailing Heineken's $6.3 billion bid to buy out F&N and others holdings in APB.
After two months of steadily higher offers for F&N and APB, bound together by a complex ownership structure, the Thais and the Dutch brewer ended their standoff.
Now Heineken, the world's third largest brewer, appears on course to succeed in taking full control of APB. F&N's board has already backed the deal and F&N shareholders will vote on Sept 28.
In turn, the path is clear for Charoen to profit from the Heineken payout and expand in Asian property and soft drinks -- the main businesses left in F&N after the sale of its beer interests.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, Juhi Arora in Bangalore, Editing by Anthony Kurian and David Gregorio)