PLDT group revives interest in acquiring Philippine Star

The media arm of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) has revived interest in acquiring Philippine Star after talks to buy GMA Network Inc. fell through last October.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of PLDT, told reporters that his group is still in discussions with the Belmonte family to acquire majority of Star.

“Tignan natin kung open sila for us to be majority. It will be done in stages. Hindi naman siguro day one. Ayaw naman namin ng ganun kasi talagang negosyo ng mga Belmonte yon. We have a good partnership with them,” Pangilinan said.

“Kami naman hindi kami involved sa operations. We don’t sit on the board, we are entitled to but we don’t,” he said, referring to PLDT unit MediaQuest Holdings.

MediaQuest Holdings president Ray C. Espinosa said the company already owns 20 percent of Star.

Earlier reports showed that Pangilinan is buying an 87.5 percent stake in Philippine Star for P4.8 billion.

A unit of the Beneficial Trust Fund of PLDT, MediaQuest also owns 10 percent of Philippine Daily Inquirer, as well as BusinessWorld.

When asked if MediaQuest plans to raise its stake in the Inquirer, Pangilinan said, “Ah hindi, tumulong lang kami dun.”

MediaQuest also owns Cignal and TV5, of which InterAksyon.com is the online news portal.

Talks for the PLDT group’s acquisition of GMA7 bogged down because of differences over how regulatory risks would be shared between the telco and the majority owners of the broadcast company.

The PLDT group’s investment in media is part of its convergence strategy to provide more content amid flagging revenues from the telecom business.

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