Jul 082013

MANILA, Philippines – Prime Media Holdings Inc., formerly First e-Bank Corp., has been placed new management as its major shareholder has defaulted on a P44-million loan.

In a disclosure, to the stock exchange Prime Media said its majority stake will be taken over by RYM Business Management Corp. from the former leading investment unit of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Group.

“Neo Oracle Holdings Inc., pledgee and owner of shares in Prime Media Holdings Inc., defaulted in the payment of its loan obligation to pledgor RYM, resulting in the foreclosure of the pledged shares,” the company said.

Prime Media implemented a trading halt yesterday for the transaction, which involves the transfer of 298.94 million shares or around 77 percent of the listed firm to RYM.

RYM is a Makati-based business and management consultancy firm while Prime Media’s principal shareholder Neo Oracle was formerly Metro Pacific Corp., First Pacific’s unit that previously entered into real estate, telecommunications, transportation, consumer, packaging and banking.

Late in June, RYM warned Neo Oracle that it will foreclose the Prime Media shares that were given as security for P44.8-million debt.

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“The company shall initiate foreclosure proceedings on the said shares” unless Neo Oracle paid the debts and its interest rates, RYM said.

Prime Media was originally incorporated in February 1963 as Private Development Corp. of the Philippines and then changed to PDCP Development Bank Inc. in the same year.

In 2000, the company changed its name to First e-Bank before becoming Prime Media in 2003. First e-Bank was sold to tycoon Henry Sy’s BDO Unibank, leaving Prime Media as a dormant holding firm.

“At present, Prime Media is still in the process of cleaning up its balance sheet to pave the way for the entry of a new investor who will be willing to inject fresh capital into the company,” Prime Media said.

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