Ramon Ang accepts offer to invest in Inquirer Group

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 17) — Business tycoon Ramon Ang is venturing into the media industry in a surprise deal to buy out of one of the country's leading players.

The Inquirer Group of Companies confirmed on Monday that a conditional agreement had been signed with Ang. The deal will be finalized after Ang conducts due diligence, Inquirer Chair Marixi Prieto said in a statement.

Ang confirmed in a separate statement, "I have accepted the offer of the Prieto family to invest in the Inquirer Group. I am looking forward to be part of this venerable institution and work with the men and women who made it what it is now."

There are no details yet as to how much the deal is valued, but Ang is making it clear that he will make the investment in his personal capacity, and not as the president of conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

The Prietos are divesting their majority stake in Inquirer after 25 years at the helm. Talks started in 2014 but they were revived this year after the family completed its annual review of the business.

Prieto said the sale was a "strategic" decision that would "maximize growth opportunities" for the company. "[Ang's] investments and business expertise will unlock added value in the Inquirer Group…" she said.

The Inquirer Group publishes the country's top newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It also owns a news website, radio station and several magazines. 

Ang vowed to respect Inquirer's legacy, saying: "The publication will continue to uphold the highest journalistic standards and make a difference in the society it serves."

The Inquirer has repeatedly drawn the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte ever since he assumed the top post of the land. Mister Duterte claims the Inquirer has been unfairly critical of his administration - especially his anti-drug campaign.

The President has also targeted the Prietos' other business, property firm Sunvar Realty Development Corp. In a speech on Monday, he again brought up accusations that Sunvar has failed to pay its dues on a government-owned property in Makati, where they put up several establishments such as the Premier Cinema, Mile-Long Arcade and Sunvar Plaza.