Ongpin Sells Stake in Philweb

Renowned businessman Roberto V. Ongpin recently took the decision to sell his majority 53.76% controlling share in Philweb Corp, one of the most famous gaming technology providers in the Far East. He took this decision after state-owned PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp) rejected his proposals on preserving the company.

Writing to the board at Philweb in early September, Ongpin stated his deep regret at leaving the company and divesting his entire stock of holdings. Following his resignation from the position of Philweb Chair, and making several offers to PAGCOR that were ignored or rejected, he felt that there was no chance of the company getting a favourable response while he remained at the top.

Ongpin Donations from the Sale

Once the sale goes through, Ongpin pledged to donate around P1 billion for a government run drug rehab program. This would match an earlier pledge from San Miguel Corp.

He paid tribute to Philweb and its directors who helped grow it to become the powerful gaming force it is today. He stepped down with sadness but understanding that the company could only survive if he did so.

The current value of Philweb is around P9.2 billion (£154m or $200m US) based on value price share following the announcement in September. However, this valuation did not go without a hitch. Ongpin claimed at the time that the correct business value of his 53.76% share was P20 billion (£320m), referencing his pro-rata share before Duterte’s announcement and Pagcor’s refusal to renew the license.

The Problems With Philweb Finally Resolved?

It is estimated that around 6,000 individuals rely on PAGCOR’s 286 strong egame network that Philweb operated until 10th August when the arrangement expired. This network includes internet gaming cafes for casino games such as blackjack and baccarat.

Ongpin had previously tried to sell his majority shareholding in the company but only allowed a short time frame for the sale; consequently, it fell through. The main reason for the collapse was the number of uncertainties over PAGCOR’s impending renewal of the Philweb license.

Following this, Ongpin offered to donate his entire 49% Philweb share to Pagcor, as well as his 4.7% stake to a fund named after his late brother, the Ateneo de Manila University JVO Scholarship Fund.

For Philweb’s part, the company proposed a smartphone lottery platform to Pagcor. They estimate it would generate between P50 to P100 billion annually. They suggested this as a way to alleviate loss of revenue following scrapping of a proposed nationwide egame network.