SEC reviewing PhilWeb sale

The Securities and Exchange Commission will review the appeal of PhilWeb Corp. to close the P2-billion block sale of founder Roberto Ongpin’s 53.76-percent stake in the company to businessman Gregorio Ma. Araneta III before conducting a mandatory tender offer.

“It is still being considered,” SEC chairperson Teresita J. Herbosa told reporters.

Herbosa said the SEC obtained the formal request from PhilWeb just last week.

Araneta, who is currently the chairman of PhilWeb, in a letter to Herbosa last week sought the approval of the block sale first before complying with the tender offer requirement.

“The tender offer requirement required to be accomplished prior to the block sale will only cause unnecessary expense on my part,” Araneta said, citing fairness opinion and newspaper publication, among other things.

“We at PhilWeb are also concerned about restarting our operations without delay since the network of e-Games cafe have been out of business over two months now,” he added.

PhilWeb said last week it submitted an application to renew the company’s gaming license with state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Araneta committed to conduct a tender offering at the earliest possible time.

Share price of PhilWeb is currently trading at P9 apiece. Araneta, meanwhile, will conduct a tender offering to other shareholders of PhilWeb at P2.60 per share.

PhilWeb on Oct. 5 announced that Ongpin-led RVO Group of Companies and Araneta finalized a sale and purchase agreement. 

Ongpin, under the agreement, will sell his entire 771,651,896 PhilWeb shares to Gregorio Araneta Inc. at P2.60 per share for a total value of P2 billion.

The first tranche of 653,151,896 shares will be completed through a special block sale in the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The second tranche will consist of 118,500,000 shares comprising of partially paid shares, which have been actually fully paid but should to be registered for listing with the Philippine Stock Exchange. 

Under the Securities Regulation Code, an entity that acquires 35 percent stake of a listed company is required within a year to make a tender offer for all the outstanding voting shares.

Topics: Securities and Exchange Commission , PhilWeb Corp. , Roberto Ongpin , Gregorio Ma. Araneta III
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