PLDT selling SPi GlobalBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The largest Filipino-owned business process outsourcing (BPO) firm, SPi Global Holdings Inc., is set to be acquired by a foreign group as the former’s parent, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., looks to pare down its debts.
PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company had found a preferred buyer to acquire 80 percent of SPi Global, which has over 18,000 employees in the Philippines and four other countries.
“It’s an excellent business and (SPi Global CEO Maulik Parekh) has done an excellent job increasing its value,” Pangilinan said in an interview on Tuesday.
“The decision to sell came when we were still negotiating to buy GMA 7. That deal never happened, but we decided to push through with the sale of SPI,” he told reporters.
Pangilinan said the buyer would acquire an 80-percent stake in SPi, while PLDT would keep the remaining 20 percent.
Pangilinan said the PLDT group was also willing to contribute to SPi’s future expansion.
The PLDT group also recently sold its 27-percent stake in PhilWeb Corp., a gaming firm controlled by the group of Roberto V. Ongpin, for $101 million.
“We already identified a preferred buyer and we are in the final stages of documentation,” Pangilinan said, adding that the buyer was a foreign private equity fund with existing investments in the BPO business. He, however, declined to reveal other details.
He said that while he believed SPi was a financially strong company, its impact on the PLDT group’s overall bottom line or share price was never significantly felt.
The PLDT group expects to post a P37-billion net income this year. PLDT is also the most valuable firm listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Proceeds from the sale of SPi would be used to pay debts.