Businessman Ramon Ang said Monday he is acquiring the Prieto family’s controlling stake in Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the country’s largest newspapers which earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Ang, who serves as the president and chief operating officer of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. and a campaign contributor in Duterte’s 2016 presidential bid, confirmed in a statement the Inquirer Group of Companies’ official announcement that it posted on its social media account.
“I have accepted the offer of the Prieto family to invest in Inquirer Group. I am looking forward to be part of this venerable institution and work with men and women who made it what it is now” Ang said.
“The publication will continue to uphold the highest journalist standards and make a difference in the society it serves,” Ang said.
Ang said he was making the investment on a personal capacity, and not on behalf of San Miguel.
Ang did not divulge the value of the transaction, pending a due diligence on the Makati City-based newspaper. The Rufino-Prieto family owns 67 percent of the paper, while the group of businessman Manuel Pangilinan holds 12 percent.
The Prieto family made the announcement months after Duterte threatened a shame campaign against them over critical coverage of his drug war.
Neither side mentioned the paper’s longstanding dispute with Duterte, who has said Ang helped fund his presidential campaign.
In March, Duterte described the Inquirer and major television broadcaster ABS-CBN as “sons of whores” and warned them of karmic repercussions for criticizing him for alleged human rights abuses in the drug war.
He also threatened to use the government’s television station to shame the two families, and the subject has been a recurring theme in many of the president’s speeches.
Inquirer Group chair Marixi Prieto said she resumed negotiations with Ang, whom she described as “longstanding friend and business partner” for the sale of the Prieto family’s interest and major share in the Inquirer Group.
“This culminates a series of talks that began between the two parties in 2014, and restarted early this year after the Prieto family completed its annual review of business plans in Inquirer Group and other business interests,” Prieto said.
Prieto said the family’s decision to divest from the Inquirer after 25 years was a strategic move that would maximize growth opportunities for the Inquirer Group.
“The family is confident that Mr. Ang will uphold the Inquirer Group’s commitment to pursuing the highest standards of journalism,” Prieto said.
“His investments and business expertise will unlock added value in the Inquirer Group’s newspaper publication, internet communications, social media, corporate skills training, radio broadcasting and logistics delivery,” Prieto said. With AFP