Singapore's most intriguing takeover battle for many years ended last night as tycoon hotelier Ong Beng Seng won control of the cash-rich NatSteel by the narrowest of margins. Mr Ong's state-backed bidding consortium, 98 Holdings, said when its S$2.06-a-share offer closed at 3.30pm yesterday it had 42.08 per cent of the company's shares, plus a further 8.23 per cent in acceptances. The combined 50.31 per cent tally put it just beyond the 50 per cent plus-a-single-share needed to make the revised S$770 million (about HK$3.45 billion) offer unconditional. The tight victory for Mr Ong, whose efforts were supported by state-investment unit Temasek, came despite months of spoiling tactics from Indonesian-born asset trader Oei Hong Leong. Although he refrained from making his own general offer, Mr Oei's Sanion Enterprises amassed almost 30 per cent of NatSteel to try and frustrate 98 Holdings. Mr Oei, a son of Indonesian magnate Eka Tjipta Widjaja, also conducted an intensive campaign to garner minority shareholders' support. Those efforts continued right up to the wire yesterday as Sanion bought a further 250,000 shares in the open market to push his holding to 29.9 per cent. It was not enough, however. David Ban, a spokesman for 98 Holdings, said: 'We are delighted with the result and as the majority shareholder look forward to working with the board and management in the interests of all shareholders, large and small.' Analysts said NatSteel was a decent catch, with a cash-pile of S$600 million, a leading position in the city-state's domestic market, and profitable steel millers in China.