Talks of GMA 7 sale to MVP seen concluded in 2012
A number of issues yet to be resolved, says GozonBy Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The talks involving the sale of local broadcasting giant GMA Network Inc. (GMA 7) to the group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan will be resolved one way or another by the end of the year.
“It will either terminate or go through within this year if that’s the parameter that you’ll give me, because that’s too long already to be talking,” GMA 7 chairman Felipe Gozon told reporters on Monday.
He was asked whether he thought negotiations would go beyond this year given Pangilinan’s timeline of the discussions wrapping up within 2012.
“In any discussions there are outstanding issues to be resolved because if there were none, then we would have signed yesterday,” said Gozon.
Gozon, who was at the Philippine Stock Exchange at the opening bell to celebrate GMA 7’s fifth year as a listed company, said he was not at liberty to disclose the remaining issues that needed to be resolved.
On whether the P52-billion valuation for GMA 7 was acceptable, Gozon said, “No comment.”
The Inquirer earlier reported that Pangilinan’s group was moving closer to a deal to buy GMA 7 at an estimated price tag of P52.5 billion based on an “enterprise value” for the entire company.
Enterprise value factors in preferred stocks, debt and cash reserves that are usually not captured by mere market capitalization.
In this case, the package includes 1.5 billion in preferred shares that have five times more voting rights than common shares (now at 3.36 billion) but convertible at par to common shares at 1:1 ratio.
“I’m not going to say anything about the price that will be acceptable to us. In the first place, we are not peddling GMA 7. Somebody wanted to buy and we attended to it. We were not selling,” Gozon said.
The GMA 7 chairman also clarified that he was joking when he said that the controlling shareholders would sell the broadcasting company “with eyes closed” if somebody offers to buy it for P100 billion.
“That P100 billion is out of this world,” he said.
Right now, he said the controlling shareholders of GMA 7 were talking to only one party: the group of Pangilinan, who chairs the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., the country’s dominant telecommunications company.
But if a deal doesn’t push through, Gozon said the current owners of GMA 7 were “ready, prepared and willing to continue running” the company.
Gozon has been at the helm of GMA 7 for 12 years.
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