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Court lets probe of PLDT, Globe deal proceed—PCC

/ 03:21 AM July 24, 2016

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) claimed a victory on Saturday in its fight to look into possible unfair business practices in the recent acquisition by telecommunication giants PLDT and Globe Telecom of San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) telco unit.

The PCC said the Court of Appeals (CA) had denied Globe’s application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against PCC’s review of the P70-billion deal.

PLDT had made a separate filing seeking to stop the review before the appellate court.

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Both buying telcos ran to the Court of Appeals on July 12 in a bid to stop the PCC from investigating the transaction, which they said deserved automatic approval based on the PCC’s transitory rules.

The PCC said it wanted to know whether the deal would “substantially prevent, restrict or lessen competition in the relevant market, or adversely impact consumer welfare.” The PCC is mandated to look into possible unfair business practices such as the creation of monopolies and cartels.

The telcos said the deal was covered by the PCC’s transitory rules, which only require a transaction notice to be filed by PLDT, Globe and SMC in order to be “deemed approved.” They argued that the acquisition was sealed on May 30, or before the PCC’s implementing rules and regulations were issued on June 3 and took effect on June 20.

“The court’s decision further serves to strengthen the PCC’s resolve to closely scrutinize this transaction and examine any possible adverse effects on the public welfare,” the PCC said in its statement.

“The undue haste exhibited by the parties to run to the courts to stop PCC’s review is now confirmed as unjustified,” it said.

“The PCC remains hopeful that this development will encourage Globe and the other parties concerned to cooperate with the PCC in the fulfillment of its mandate to safeguard free and fair competition,” it added.

Winthrop Yu, chair of the Internet Society—Philippines chapter, said the “refusal by the Court of Appeals to issue a TRO against the PCC conforms well with the views expressed by ISOC-PH as well as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.”

“A comprehensive review of the SMC telecom assets takeover should not be obstructed and should instead be allowed to proceed as mandated by the Competition Act itself,” he said in a statement.

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PLDT and Globe acquired SMC’s Vega Telecom and two related companies for their valuable radio frequencies, including almost all of the coveted 700 megahertz band.

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TAGS: Court of Appeals, Globe telecom, Internet Society, PCC, Philippine Competition Commission, PLDT, San Miguel Corp., SMC telco unit, Winthrop Yu
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