MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said he expects his group to seal by next month a deal that will give it majority interest in one of the country’s top newspaper groups, The Philippine Star.
Pangilinan disclosed this during a Twitter chat Monday night, February 17 where he answered random questions from netizens.
Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) wants to bring its stake in Star as well as its affiliates to up to 80%. It will acquire control of the broadsheet from the family of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and other shareholders.
The deal may be valued at about P5 billion, Belmonte’s son Miguel, president and CEO of Star, earlier told Rappler.
The Belmontes have been running Star since it was founded in 1986.
Aside from cashing in on the family’s investment, Miguel said they see the deal with PLDT as the best way to extend the life span of the paper. (READ: Why Star owners want to sell to MVP)
The PLDT group has been aggressively buying media assets in a bid to transform into a “multimedia service company” that offers telecommunications services as well as content.
It owns 20% of Star, while the Belmonte family owns 51%. The rest is distributed among other shareholders, including the family of the late Star publisher Max Soliven and Menardo Jimenez, one of GMA Network Inc.’s owners.
Aside from Star, the PLDT group also has minority interests in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and BusinessWorld. It has full control of Associated Broadcasting Corporation, the company that operates TV5, and cable provider Cignal Digital TV. There were reports it revived talks to acquire GMA Network.
The group’s media assets are being handled by unit MediaQuest Holdings Inc. – Rappler.com