Ang confirms talks to buy Solar

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 25 2012 07:56 AM | Updated as of Sep 25 2012 05:53 PM

MANILA, Philippines - San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang confirmed yesterday that negotiations were going on for the acquisition of Wilson Tieng’s Solar Entertainment Corp., a media firm with interests in cable, free television and film distribution.

“In talks to buy into (the company)” Ang said in a text message in response to The STAR story that came out yesterday.

Ang, who engineered the diversification of food and beverage giant San Miguel into faster-growing industries such as infrastructure, oil refining, power generation, mining, telecommunications and recently airlines, said the acquisition will be a personal venture and that San Miguel has nothing to do with it.

SMC’s top executive, however, did not indicate if the purchase would include the film outfit.

He also steered clear of the deal between Solar Entertainment and the Panama-based hospitality services firm Thunderbird Resorts, saying he will “never” venture into the casino business.

“Thunderbird is a Tieng family deal and not SMC or me,” Ang pointed out.

Under the agreement signed in August 2011, Solar Entertainment, together with an unnamed Filipino investor, will invest $52 million to acquire up to a 50 percent stake in Thunderbird’s properties in the Philippines, located at Poro Point in San Fernando La Union and Binangonan, Rizal.

The business community was speculating that Ang was Tieng’s partner in the Thunderbird transaction.

The 57-year old Ang recently hogged the headlines for becoming the single biggest individual shareholder in Southeast Asia’s largest conglomerate after acquiring SMC chairman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.’s remaining 11 percent stake.

In a personal capacity, Ang owns Manila Diamond Hotel and cement firms Far East Cement and Eagle Cement. He serves as president of listed Cyberbay Corp.

Solar Entertainment is a leader in the creation, promotion and distribution of entertainment and sports content programming. It also pioneered television block timing in the Philippine TV industry.

Its roster of entertainment and sports channels include ETC, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV, Solar Sports and Basketball TV.