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Philippines paper in sale talks after Duterte threat

MANILA

Top newspaper the Philippine Daily Inquirer said on Monday its owners are in talks to sell the publication, months after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened a shame campaign against them over critical coverage of his drug war.

Marixi Prieto, chairwoman of the Inquirer Group of Companies, said the family had decided to quit the newspaper business and was in talks to sell it to tycoon Ramon Ang, president of top Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

“The Prieto family’s decision to divest after 25 years is a strategic business decision that it believes will maximise group opportunities for the Inquirer group,” the paper said in a statement.

Ang said on Monday he has accepted the Prieto family’s offer to invest in the Inquirer Group but gave no details.

Neither side mentioned the paper’s longstanding dispute with Duterte, who has said Ang helped fund his presidential campaign.

In March Duterte slammed the Inquirer and major television broadcaster ABS-CBN and warned them of karmic repercussions for criticising him for alleged human rights abuses in the drug war.

“I’m not threatening them but someday their karma will catch up with them,” Duterte said, singling out the Prietos as well as the Lopez family that controls the television network.

Agencies