Businessman Ramon Ang will likely have a full ownership of Philippine Daily Inquirer, after PLDT Inc. chairman Manuel Pangilinan, an early investor, said he is willing to divest from the publication.
Pangilinan said he was willing to divest his stake in Philippine Daily Inquirer if the price was right.
“If there’s an offer to buy our stake at an acceptable price, we are willing to divest,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
Pangilinan’s statement came after Ang, the president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corp., confirmed talks that he would acquire a majority stake in the Inquirer Group of Companies from the Rufino-Prieto family.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the family of chair Marixi Prieto was selling 85 percent of the company to long-time friend Ang, with the remaining 15 percent still held by Pangilinan.
Ang and the Rufino-Prieto family did not disclose the value of the transaction. The Inquirer group has the Makati City-based Philippine Daily Inquirer as its flagship company. It also has stakes in tabloid Bandera, regional paper Cebu Daily News, Radyo Inquirer DZIQ, digital company Inquirer.net and printing company Print Town Group.
Pangilinan, chairman of PLDT subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings Inc., has a 15-percent stake in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. MediaQuest also has substantial interests in daily publications Philippine Star and BusinessWorld, Associated Broadcasting Corp. which operates television network TV 5 and cable TV provider Cignal Digital TV.
Ang said he had accepted the offer of the Prieto family to invest in the 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.
Marixi 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.
Ang said he was making the investment on a personal capacity, and not on behalf of San Miguel.
The Prieto family made the announcement after President Rodrigo 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 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.
“I’m not threatening them but someday their karma will catch up with them,” Duterte said, singling out the Prietos as well as the Lopez family that controls the television network.
The Rufino-Prieto family has interests in the real estate and restaurant sectors. With AFP