The Philippines' richest man is in talks to take control of one of the country's main real estate firms, which has major parcels of undeveloped land in the nation's capital, his company said Thursday.
The SM Group of ethnic-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy confirmed it was eyeing a majority stake in the holding company that developed Ortigas business district, an important financial hub in Manila.
"We confirm that SM Group is in the process of discussion for the acquisition of majority interest in Ortigas Holdings Inc.," the company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
"The amount and details of the transaction are still under discussion and subject to finalisation."
The disclosure was issued after the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper reported that Sy was ready to acquire control of the Ortigas group for $1.0 billion.
The Ortigas group holds large parcels of land in the capital, which could be developed by Sy who was listed by Forbes business magazine last year as the richest man in the Philippines with a net worth of $7.2 billion.
By the end of this year, SM Group plans to have 46 major shopping malls in the Philippines and five in China. It also has interests in banking and residential properties.