The matriarch of the Prieto family framed the sell-off of their Inquirer Group of Companies to businessman Ramon Ang as a “business decision.”
Marixi Prieto, Chair of the Inquirer Group of Companies, said: “This a strategic business decision that will maximize growth opportunities for the Inquirer Group.”
In a statement Monday, Prieto said the move to sell the family’s estimated 85% stake in the company, which owns the national broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer and other related media assets, “will benefit the company’s growth.”
She said of Ang: “His investments and business expertise will boost the Inquirer Group’s value and performance.”
Before the announcement of the prospective sell-off, Inquirer had at times been the subject of President Duterte’s tirades due to reportage that the President tagged as “slanted.”
Duterte also threatened to take back the Prietos’ 2.9 hectare Mile Long property in the city of Makati due to alleged tax arrears.
But, on top of what many quarters perceive as possible political pressure, an analyst noted that business pressure may have also played a big part, as print revenues continue to fall because of the inroads from digital media technology.
Late last year, the Inquirer launched a rebranded look across its platforms to make the publication more palatable to the modern digital crowd.
Valuations and transaction terms have yet to be ironed out. The Philippine Competition Commission said they will also look at the transaction once it is established that it breaches the PhP1 billion acquisition threshold.
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