The deal involves around 6.8 million shares of Rocket Internet that PLDT owns for about €163.2 million ($202 million).
PLDT, through PLDT Online, currently owns about 6.1 per cent of Rocket Internet. Should the share buyback go through, PLDT’s ownership in Rocket will drop to just 2 per cent, which may result in the former losing its board seat in the German firm.
Rocket earlier announced the buyback of up to 15.5 million shares through a public share purchase offer for €24 per share.
“The final number of PLDT Online tendered shares accepted by Rocket will be determined after the offer period, which is expected to end on 2 May 2018. If greater than 15,472,912 Rocket shares are tendered, the Rocket shares to be sold by PLDT Online will be reduced proportionally,” the company said.
PLDT spokesman Ramon Isberto told reporters that the proceeds of the divestment will be used partly to finance the company’s capital expenditures for this year, which is about P58 billion ($1.1 billion).
PLDT invested €333 million for a 10 per cent stake in Rocket in 2014. The investment, according to PLDT during the signing of the agreement, reflected its long-term commitment to Rocket and its ability to combine PLDT’s mobile money expertise and resources to Rocket’s global platform.
In 2016, however, PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilingan described the company’s Rocket investment as “disappointing” although he held on to the stake. It was in 2017 that PLDT first hinted at divesting its stake in Rocket Internet.