THE rivalry between business tycoons Manny V. Panglinan and Ramon S. Ang is set to spill over into television.
Sources informed Spin.ph that Ang, through San Miguel Corporation, has acquired a stake in Solar Entertainment Corporation and is set to launch his own television network on December 1.
Ang, sources added, has reached an agreement with Solar owner Wilson Tieng to split the company into two, with the entertainment side like the ETC channel, NBA and BTV to remain with the original owners.
San Miguel group will then spearhead the Solar TV (STV) branch which will come up with an all news channel at the now dormant RPN-9 channel, which will be renamed the Solar News Channel.
“Yun ang plano. The group of Mr. Ang will push for an all news channel, where sports programs like the existing Solar Sports Desk will air,” said the source, who bared that Ang’s network will slowly shed the ‘Solar’ brand name.
“Hindi ko pa alam kung ano magiging name, i-a-announce din yan baka next week,” said the source, adding he expects an official announcement in the next few days.
Once the plan pushes through, it will once again put two giants of Philippine business in direct competition, nay in a different battleground.
MVP and RSA, as they are known in business and sports circles, have already faced off over everything from airlines, power distribution companies, mines, and hospitals to train systems and airports.
They already own half of the teams in the PBA - with Ang's SMC controlling Petron, San Mig Coffee, and Ginebra and Pangilinan owing Talk 'N Text and Meralco.
[For full story, see Titanic rivalry]
An SMC takeover of the Solar news component is expected to evolve into another rivalry with Pangilinan, whose company already controls TV5 as well as its sister channel on the UHF band, Aksyon TV 47.
According to sources, Solar currently owns a 34 percent stake in RPN-9, a government-sequestered network currently headed by Kitchie Benedicto.
It is still unclear if Mr. Ang plans to take over the once popular network, which faces stiff management issues owing to problems with its employees' union.