Philippines’ PLDT now majority owner of Digitel

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. says it has acquired majority ownership of a rival in a 69.2 billion-peso ($1.6 billion) share swap deal that will allow it to control about two-thirds of the country’s cellular telephone business.

The Philippines’ largest telecommunications provider said in a statement Wednesday it acquired 51.55 percent of the outstanding common stock of Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc. from JG Summit Holdings Inc. by paying the holding company with 27.7 million newly issued shares, or about 12.9 percent of PLDT’s common stock.

The National Telecommunications Commission has required PLDT to divest one of its units that owns a 3G frequency. PLDT also has committed to continue Digitel’s “unlimited” call and text services.