Ongpin offers to donate 49 percent stake in Philweb to Pagcor

Businessman Roberto Ongpin has offered to donate 49 percent of his entire 53.76 percent stake in PhilWeb Corporation to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), as a last ditch effort to save the firm from winding down operations.

According to a letter sent to Pagcor chief executive Andrea Domingo dated August 17, Ongpin also offered to donate another 4.7 percent stake in Philweb to the Ateneo de Manila University JVO (Jaime V. Ongpin) Scholarship Fund.

“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 the bidders,” Ongpin said.

“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.”

“Why 49%? This is to simply avoid PhilWeb being classified as a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), which would make the various restrictions applicable to GOCC’s result in making PhilWeb’s operation untenable,” he added.

Philweb was valued by the stock market at P10.8 billion as of Wednesday close. This would mean that Ongpin’s stake is worth about P5.8 billion.

“I also wish to point out that this donation to Pagcor comes with no strings attached,” Ongpin said. “Thus, Pagcor can decide whether to retain it as a permanent invest or auction all or part of it off to the highest bidder.”