Thai Public Beverage Co has confirmed that it is to extend its presence in soft drinks by acquiring Serm Suk for THB15.42bn (US$514m).

The move signals the endgame in long-running speculation over to Serm Suk's future. Thai Public Beverage Co (ThaiBev) said today (9 September) that it will launch a tender offer by 15 September to acquire all shares in the Thailand-based drinks bottler.

ThaiBev has been linked with Serm Suk for the past year, but previously denied its interest. Serm Suk, meanwhile, has been embroiled in disputes between its own shareholders. The deal values the bottler at THB58 per share, which is around THB4 lower than the group's closing price on 8 September.

ThaiBev said that the acquisition is to "expand the non-alcoholic product portfolio", as well as to increase its distribution network and attain an "efficient returnable bottle system". It expects to fund the takeover via cash from debt financing.

Serm Suk already distributes ThaiBev's Oishi green tea and energy drinks. In 2010, Serm Suk's net sales were THB22.1bn, with net profits of THB468m. 

PepsiCo owns a 41.54% stake in Serm Suk, while Japan's Suntory indirectly owns another 9.13%. SS National Logistics, meanwhile, holds a 32.6% stake.