BUSINESSMAN Manuel Pangilinan on Tuesday said that his 15 percent stake in the Inquirer Group of Companies was already “within the sale process.”
An agreement with Marixi Prieto, chairman of the Inquirer group, was signed last week, he told reporters.
“So effectively it’s in the process, it’s within the sale process,” Pangilinan said.
He declined to provide a value.
The Prietos last month announced that they were selling the Inquirer Group, including flagship newspaper the Philippine Daily Inquirer, to San Miguel Corp. President Ramon Ang.
Pangilinan, who is often described as Ang’s rival, has said that he would be divesting the Inquirer stake as part of the sale.
“We have no problem with that. So that the takeover will be seamless and we will not get in the way. I guess it will eventually wind up with Ramon Ang. The intention is to give 100 percent to Ang,” he said.
The Prietos had reportedly offered to sell their entire stake to Pangilinan, who already owns two other broadsheets, The Philippine Star and BusinessWorld. He also owns the TV5 television network.
The Prietos were reportedly pressured into selling after the Inquirer was repeatedly lambasted by President Rodrigo Duterte for its alleged biased reporting.
The newspaper denied the charge but Duterte ramped up the attacks, focusing on the Prietos long-running dispute with the government over ownership of the Mile Long property in Makati.
Speaking at the recent Bureau of Internal Revenue anniversary, Duterte declared: “If I could prove, which I am studying now, that it’s economic sabotage, then I will file cases against them for economic sabotage. Then I will not allow bail.”
Makatikim rin sila, ang mga mayaman, once in their life, makapasok sila ng presuhan [The wealthy will also get a taste, once in their life, of being in jail],” Duterte said.
State-owned National Power Corp. leased the property in 1977 to Technology Resource Center Foundation, Inc., which in turn sub-leased it to Sunvar. Napocor declined to renew but Sunvar insisted that it had a lease valid up to 2027.
A Makati court ordered the firm to vacate Mile Long in 2015 and, following notice to vacate served by Solicitor General Jose Calida last Tuesday, Sunvar on August 16 announced that it would comply as part of a commitment to follow the legal process.