BIZ BUZZ: Playground for the well-heeled


Almost 200 works of art —paintings, sculptures, antique furniture, rare fabrics—with a combined value of close to P300 million at their minimum or “reserve” prices will go under the hammer two Saturdays from today at Leon Gallery’s “Magnificent September Auction” and art aficionados are getting their paddles and checkbooks ready, we hear.

This renowned Makati-based gallery holds auctions regularly, of course, but demand has exploded in recent years from well-heeled Filipinos to the point that its director, Jaime Ponce de Leon, has had to hold these events on a quarterly basis to satisfy his patrons.

At the same time, wealthy Filipinos with large art collections have apparently discovered the joys of consigning some of their artwork, either to monetize them or to make space on their walls for new ones.

It’s all good business for Leon Gallery, which will open for bidding on Sept. 9 a 1957 oil on canvass painting by Anita Magsaysay-Ho entitled “Laughter” at a starting price of P22 million.

Also to be auctioned off will be a 1958 oil on canvass painting by Hernando Ocampo called “Dilemma” from the collection of former Marcos information minister and senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad.

A 1969 Vicente Manansala oil on canvass painting called “Fish Vendors” owned by the 1950s actress Celia Flor will also be bid out, starting at P16 million.

The biggest collection that will be auctioned off will be that of U-Bix Corp. chair and CEO Edilberto Bravo, alongside another set from the collection of the late media tycoon Don Geny Lopez.

Will new records be broken at the auction? Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas

Hello, goodbye, hello ABS-CBN

It’s a hello, love, goodbye … and hello again situation at the senior management pool of media giant ABS-CBN Corp.

We’re talking about Ricardo Tan Jr., who rejoins the Lopez-led company as chief financial officer this week after a few months with energy firm Atlantic Gulf & Pacific.

Tan, who was previously voted best CFO in the country by FinanceAsia, spent a decade with ABS-CBN before announcing his “early retirement” from the historic media company last March.

Tan joined ABS-CBN in 2013 as corporate treasurer before abruptly stepping up to the role of group CFO in 2020 after the demise of longtime CFO Rolando Valdueza.

Tan played a key role in helping stabilize the media group’s finances and was critical during negotiations with various suppliers and lenders as the company lost its broadcast franchise at the hand of lawmaker-allies of former president Rodrigo Duterte that same year.

It’s telling that ABS-CBN did not appoint a new permanent CFO during Tan’s brief absence.

Vincent Paul Piedad, the Skycable CFO, assumed the job as officer in charge. With Tan back at the helm, Piedad was named treasurer and will report to the group CFO.

We’re not sure what transpired or what convinced him to return (maybe he saw those massive TikTok views) but it’s certainly a positive development.

We also heard from company insiders that ABS-CBN employees were happy to hear the news and Tan himself seemed satisfied to be back when we reached out.

“Forever Kapamilya,” he told Biz Buzz.

—Miguel R. Camus

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