Offers to buy GMA 7 remain ‘unacceptable’By Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Offers to acquire multimedia giant GMA Network Inc. have so far been unacceptable, a senior member of one of the company’s three major shareholder groups said.
GMA Network president Gilberto Duavit Jr. said the company’s owners were not near any agreement with businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan to cede control of the network for a price nearly double the firm’s current market capitalization.
“The major and controlling shareholders have not yet received a price that is acceptable to them,” Duavit said in a statement.
GMA is controlled by the Duavit, Gozon and Jimenez families. The Gozon group, represented by GMA chairman Felipe L. Gozon, had said in the past that the company could be sold for “the right price.”
“We are presently not in serious negotiations with the PLDT group as we have not yet received an offer price that is acceptable to us,” Duavit said.
But he said the shareholders would welcome offers to buy them out, adding that price would be the main consideration. “That is not to say that (GMA 7) may not be sold, depending on the offer price,” Duavit said.
Earlier, the Inquirer’s BizBuzz, quoting a source from Pangilinan’s Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., said the “asking price” for GMA 7 was between P45 billion and P51 billion—an amount the Pangilinan group was said to be willing to pay.
The report said the three families controlling GMA 7 were willing to sell the company for P50 billion to P60 billion. GMA is currently worth P28.4 billion, based on a price of P9.12 a share.
The Pangilinan group, through the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Beneficial Trust Fund, has investments in several media companies and full ownership of television network TV5. The trust fund, through subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, also has minority interests in print media Businessworld, Philippine Star and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The sale of GMA 7 to the PLDT group nearly occurred in 2001 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the parties. Duavit said there were agreements already reached by the two sides on both pricing and a sale of a majority stake of the firm. The transaction, however, failed to materialize due to issues encountered by the buyer not relating to the price.
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