Leviste ups stake in ABS-CBN to 10%

Solar Philippines founder Leandro Legarda Leviste has increased his stake in ABS-CBN Corporation to 10 percent—almost enough to entitle him a seat in the multi-media firm’s board of directors.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), ABS-CBN said Leviste’s LL Holdings Inc. (LLH), together with parent company Countryside Investments Holdings Corporation, now own 90 million shares of ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation (ABSP). 

Solar Philippines Founder Leandro L. Leviste

LLH submitted its Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership of Securities in compliance with rules for disclosing upon reaching the 10 percent threshold to become a non-public shareholder.

With 90 million ABS-CBN and ABSP shares, Leviste now has almost a fifth of the 502 million shares owned by Lopez Inc. He is already the largest shareholder of ABS-CBN after Lopez Inc.

Last month, Leviste disclosed the acquisition of 8.5 percent of ABS-CBN as part of a series of investments after selling part of his stake in SP New Energy Corporation to Meralco PowerGen Corporation.

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“We certainly have a soft spot for ABS-CBN because my mom was working in the station in my first 5 years of life, and we know a lot of people who are there and truly, sincerely, wish to help the company,” Leviste said in an ABS-CBN News.

He added that “we hope that, by purchasing shares in the company, and even just with the performance of its stock recently, we can work together to help ABS regain its leadership in the media sector.”

Leviste’s mother, Senator Loren Legarda, rose to prominence as a multi-awarded producer and news anchor on ABS-CBN starting in 1986. Legarda anchored ABS-CBN’s World Tonight at the time Leviste was born in 1993, up to her run for the Senate in the 1998 elections.

When asked if he will be taking a board seat as director in ABS-CBN, Levista said in an interview on One News with Cathy Yang, herself a former ABS-CBN news anchor, that “we want to respect the company to make any such disclosure itself, but that we have said that we are very much interested in helping the company and hope that it will be to the benefit of the shareholders, the employees, and the media sector of the Philippines that more investment and more help can go to media companies."

Since Leviste’s shareholding was first disclosed on May 2, 2024, ABS-CBN’s share price has risen 77 percent to close at P7.65 per share on June 4, 2024, valuing Leviste’s shareholding at P688.5 million.