WHAT IS ONGPINS END GAME? (Update)
Manoeuvring in the Philippines as former chairmans auction completes.
Former Philweb chairman Roberto V. Ongpin is keeping observers guessing in the latest manipulation of his majority 53.76 percent shareholding in the beleaguered company.
Reports from Manila this morning (Wednesday) are that the controversial businessman claims to have received five bids for the 771 million shares….but that he has decided not to accept any of them.
Ongpin told the Manila Enquirer:
“Due to the reports in the media that under no circumstances will the Philweb license be renewed, I have decided that it is not appropriate, nor fair to the bidders for me to award my shares to any of them.
“As you know, the bid is contingent on the renewal by Pagcor of Philweb’s license and the reports in the media that the license will not be renewed under any circumstances render the auction process moot and academic.”
Instead, Ongpin has announced that he has offered to donate a 49 percent stake in Philweb Corp. to the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor). PAGCOR has declined to renew Philwebs licence .
Ongpin has also offered to donate another 4.7 percent stake in Philweb to the Ateneo de Manila University JVO (Jaime V. Ongpin) Scholarship Fund, the newspaper reports, quoting from a letter dated August 17 sent to PAGCOR chief Andreas Domingo by the businessman.
Ongpin hopes that his donation to Pagcor will save the jobs of about 700 Philweb employees, plus about 5,000 others who are employed by operators in 286 e-Games sites.
The former chairman says that he opted for a 49 percent donation to PAGCOR to avoid Philweb being classified as a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC), which would make various restrictions applicable and make operations untenable.
Philweb was valued by the stock market at P10.77 billion as of Wednesday’s close, with Ongpins 53.76 percent stake worth about P5.8 billion.
Ongpin says there are "no strings attached" to his offer, and that PAGCOR "…can decide whether to retain it as a permanent invest or auction all or part of it off to the highest bidder.”