MANILA, Philippines - The group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan (also referred to as MVP) remains keen on increasing its current 20% stake in the Philippine Star daily newspaper alongside its aggressive push in broadcast media.
In a recent briefing with reporters, Pangilinan, who chairs Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), said talks of acquiring a majority stake from the Belmonte family, who controls the print media company, remains "under discussion."
"We'd be interested to increase our stake but we're not going to do it immediately. It will be in stages," he said, adding that it would also depend on the decision of the Star owners.
"If they are open to it (turning over control). We have a good partnership with (Belmonte)," he said.
Despite holding a 20% stake, Pangilinan said his group has not been involved in the Star's operations nor has it taken the board seat allocated for MediaQuest Holdings Inc., a unit of the PLDT Retirement Fund that serves as the group's corporate vehicle for media assets.
"We don’t sit on the board. We are entitled to (a board seat) but we don't. We don't want people calling us. We are not involved in the operations (of Star)," he stressed.
Negotiations between MediaQuest and Philippine Star commenced in 2009. Pangilinan's group, known for pursuing a controlling stake in companies they have interests in, had long wanted to acquire a controlling stake of up to 87.5% in the Star. Pricing issues got in the way.
Aside from the minority stake in the Star, MediaQuest holds stakes in other print media businesses, including 30% in BusinessWorld and 10% in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
"Print investment is part of multimedia strategy of MediaQuest," said Mediaquest Holdings President Ray Espinosa.
PLDT also controls ABC Development Corp., the operator of TV5, and direct-to-home satellite television Cignal TV.
It was negotiating for a controlling stake in the country's second-biggest broadcast media group, GMA Network Inc., but talks fizzled out. - Rappler.com