Well, now the speculation can end.

It appears that an Ayala subsidiary is interested in acquiring the Philippine operations of one Korean automaker: Kia.

The news comes via an official clarification made by the Ayala Corporation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after a sports website published a report saying that Ayala had already made the acquisition.

The clarification given by Ayala Corporation states that they have received a favorable notice from the regional headquarters of Kia that they are the preferred bidder for the the brand’s operations in the country.

Columbian Autocar Corporation, the Alvarez group company that handled Kia since the 1990’s, has had a challenging 2017 calendar year in the Philippines in terms of sales. In 2017 they sold 5,186 units; a 29% drop compares to 2016’s 7,304 units.

There were also reports of other companies being linked to bid for Kia, including the owner of Phoenix petroleum.

Below is an excerpt of Ayala’s clarification to the SEC:

“We confirm that our wholly-owned subsidiary, AC Industrial Technology Holdings, Inc., through one of its group companies, has received notice from Kia Motors Asia Regional headquarters that it has considered the Ayala group as “the preferred bidder” to start negotiations for the Kia distributorship in the Philippines. However, no definitive terms have been reached and we will make the appropriate disclosure of any agreement reached.”