Leviste buys 8.5% stake in ABS-CBN, becomes 2nd-largest shareholder


SOLAR Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc. Founder Leandro Antonio L. Leviste has bought an 8.5% stake in ABS-CBN Corp., positioning him as the media company’s second-largest shareholder after the Lopez group.

Mr. Leviste bought 76.5 million shares, equivalent to 8.5% of ABS-CBN, through his companies LL Holdings, Inc. and Countryside Investments Holdings Corp., Solar Philippines said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

“ABS-CBN is a great company that has helped countless people over the years. I hope there may now be a way for us to be of help, for the benefit of ABS-CBN’s shareholders and employees, and the media industry of the Philippines,” Mr. Leviste said in the social media post.

In a separate disclosure, ABS-CBN said that LL Holdings owns 75.88 million ABS-CBN shares, while Countryside Investments owns 619,000 ABS-CBN Holdings Corp. shares that are being converted into ABS-CBN shares and transferred to LL Holdings.

Countryside Investments is the parent company of LL Holdings. 

“LL Holdings has the sole power to vote or to direct the vote and to dispose or to direct the disposition of the aforementioned shares of ABS-CBN,” it said.

The shares are valued at approximately P390 million based on ABS-CBN’s stock price of P5.10 apiece at the close of Thursday’s trading.

Mr. Leviste is the son of Senator Regina “Loren” B. Legarda, a former ABS-CBN producer and news anchor.

Solar Philippines sold more than P6 billion worth of shares of SP New Energy Corp. (SPNEC) in the past year. The company and its affiliates still own 20.6 billion shares of SPNEC worth about P22 billion.

SPNEC was founded by Mr. Leviste but is now controlled by the Pangilinan group through MGen Renewable Energy, Inc.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc.

Mr. Leviste previously bought 7.55% or 188.89 million shares of Roxas and Co., Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave