Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pangilinan shelves plan to acquire broadsheet for now

Pangilinan shelves plan to acquire broadsheet for now
By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 26, 2011

MANILA, Philippines -- Business executive Manuel V. Pangilinan has shelved plans to acquire a controlling stake in the daily broadsheet Philippine Star for now as his group focuses his energies on growing other media assets.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Philippine Business for Social Progress’ (PBSP) 40th anniversary celebration in Makati on Tuesday, Pangilinan said talks with the Philippine Star have been put on hold for now.

“We’re not looking at it at the moment,” he told reporters when asked if the group would still push through with the deal.

In 2009, Pangilinan was reportedly planning to buy an 87.5-percent stake in the Philippine Star Group, which runs the country’s second most-read broadsheet.

Owned and published by Philstar Daily Inc., the Philippine Star group was founded in 1986 by veteran journalists Max Soliven, Betty Go-Belmonte and Art Borjal.

Pangilinan, in his private capacity, has long been a minority stockholder in Philippine Star, holding about 10 percent.

The deal was reportedly worth P4.8 billion, but never pushed through. Instead Pangilinan-led Associated Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) television network chose to acquire a 10-percent stake in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country’s leading English broadsheet.

ABC, which runs television station TV5, is owned by the group’s media investment arm, MediaQuest Holdings—a subsidiary of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Beneficial Trust Fund.

The group aims to turn TV5 into the country’s leading television station in five years’ time. To do this, the company is expected to spend as much as P10 billion to improve its facilities and expand its reach.

Aside from ABC, MediaQuest also owns National Broadcasting Corp., Cignal Digital TV and a minority stake in BusinessWorld Publishing Corp.

Pangilinan is the chairman of PLDT, which is owned by Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd. together with Japan’s NTT DoCoMo.

Pangilinan also chairs First Pacific unit Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), which has interests in local industries such as infrastructure, healthcare, power distribution and generation.