THE Prieto family had offered to sell its 85 percent stake in the Inquirer Group of Companies to businessman Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) but he declined due to competition concerns, a top Inquirer official said late Friday.
Pangilinan, chairman of the PLDT Group, already owns a 15-percent stake in the Inquirer through PLDT subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings Inc. MediaQuest owns 70 percent of BusinessWorld and 51 percent of The Philippine Star.
“You know, MVP would have had a very difficult time because, you know, there’s a new ruling about monopoly. So he owns [The Philippine] Star, he owns TV5, [and]he owns BusinessWorld,” Marixi Prieto, chair of the Inquirer Group, told reporters in a chance interview on Friday.
“He was afraid of the—they call it—anti-competition … so we would have gone through that… But then he would have been really controlling media,” Prieto said.
Earlier, Prieto announced that her family was in talks with San Miguel Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon Ang for the sale of its 85 percent stake in the newspaper company.
“He’s [Ang] going to buy all of that 100 percent eventually. Including MVP’s,” she added.
Following the Prieto family’s announcement, Pangilinan said he was willing to sell his stake to a prospective buyer if there was an attractive offer.
Ang has long wanted to invest in the media business. In 2014, reports said he had offered to buy a 30 percent stake in broadcast company GMA Network Inc., but a year later the talks collapsed.
“I just want all to be assured that Inquirer will grow to [reach]its potentials,” Prieto said, expressing confidence that Ang “will be able to make use of it better than before.”
“He has the capabilities to grow the Inquirer with all the potential it has. You know, it’s rich now, it already has 25-million [readership]through the internet so it’s good and everything and he can make use of that, all the things available. He’s going to do it for the country. I talked to him and he’s really, it’s really [for]country. He’s going to see, you know, how we can pass on information and keep us abreast of what is happening,” she added.
“We’re out, but the editorial will be the same. I know it from our talk [that]he’s going to maintain the same—all of them, the reporters will be maintained. He will do the same [things]that we’re doing.”
Prieto declined to disclose further details on how much was the consideration for the sale.