Businessman Gregorio Araneta is wooing the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approve his PHP2.01 billion (US$41.56 million) deal with the resigned PhilWeb Corp. chairman Roberto Ongpin.
PhilWeb assured the SEC that it is not trying to skirt a mandatory offer even if they wanted to do the tender offer after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the special block sale of Ongpin’s company shares to Gregorio Araneta Inc. (GAI).
“Mr. Araneta is pointing out that there have been cases that the sale transaction pushed through before the tender offer,” PhilWeb President Dennis Valdes told GMA News Online.
Two weeks ago, PhilWeb announced in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange that Araneta and Ongpin agreed to a special block sale of Ongpin’s 53.76 percent stake or 771,651,896 shares in PhilWeb, with tag price of PHP2.01 billion (US$41.56 million) or PHP2.60 (US$0.0539).
Ongpin, who resigned at the height of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against online gambling, is trying to divest from the service technology provider in the hope of securing a new license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) for Pagcor’s 286 e-Games outlets.
“After the divestment by the RVO Group of Companies of its stake in PhilWeb is concluded today and after his resignation from PhilWeb in early August, Ongpin will have no further involvement with PhilWeb,” the company’s statement read.
Araneta, brother-in-law of defeated 2016 vice presidential candidate and Duterte ally Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos, Jr., contend in his October 14 letter to SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbosa the need to conduct the special block sale first on grounds that the minority shareholders would not be willing tender their shares at P2.60 apiece considering that PhilWeb shares are trading at more than P9 each.
“I have on several occasions confirmed my willingness to abide by the requirements of the tender offer at the earliest possible time. However, it should be obvious to all concerned that because the transaction price is P2.60 per share and the current market price is above P9, that no shareholder will tender his shares at P2.60 when he can dispose of those shares at the market at any time at the prevailing market price of P9 or better,” Araneta, the new PhilWeb chairman, explained.