San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang is seeking to buy a majority stake in the Inquirer Group, the publisher of the country’s most-read broadsheet, the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Inquirer chair Marixi Rufino-Prieto confirmed the discussions with Ang for the sale of the Prieto family’s interest and majority share in the Inquirer Group.
The 31-year-old media entity noted that the development is a culmination of a series of talks that began between the two parties in 2014, and restarted early this year after the Prieto family completed its annual business review.
“The Prieto family’s decision to divest after 25 years is a strategic business decision that it believes will maximize growth opportunities for the Inquirer Group. The family is confident that Mr. Ang will uphold the Inquirer Group’s commitment to pursuing the highest standards of journalism,” the group noted in its statement.
The Inquirer group also owns tabloid newspapers and a radio station.
Touted by Forbes Magazine as the Philippines’ 16th richest man, Ang was named by President Rodrigo Duterte himself last December as one of his campaign financiers. Duterte has had a fraught relationship with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, with the president accusing the publication of being “rude and biased” against him. He has also criticised the Prieto family for its alleged tax evasion.
In response to Duterte’s remarks, Inquirer has denied that the newspaper has been unfair in its coverage of him and his administration. “Since its founding in 1985, the Inquirer has upheld the highest standards of excellence in journalism. Even as we’ve courageously pursued the truth in our coverage, we’ve endeavored to get the administration’s side of any controversy,” it said.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Ang said he looks forward to being part of Inquirer which he described as a “venerable institution.” “The publication will continue to uphold the highest journalistic standards and make a difference in the society it serves,” Ang said.