First Pacific, the Hong Kong investment company, on Tuesday backed out of a deal with the Philippine government to acquire its indirect 6.4 per cent stake in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co, the country’s biggest phone company.
Manila and First Pacific, which already owns a quarter of PLDT, planned to sign an agreement on Tuesday on the government’s 46 per cent stake in holding company Philippine Telecommunication Investment Corp, which owns 14 per cent of PLDT.
The government auctioned off its interest in PTIC in December after a court ruled the stake was part of assets illegally amassed by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
First Pacific, which owns 54 per cent of the holding company, had said it was exercising its right to match the winning offer of 25.2bn pesos ($514m) by the Singapore investment company Parallax Venture fund XXVII.
However, the government said on Tuesday: “First Pacific advised the government that PTIC itself would exercise the right to match.”
Due to First Pacific’s interest in PTIC, the move effectively gives it more time to cut a deal over the stake.