Pangilinan likens talks on purchase of GMA network to ‘lovers’ quarrel’By Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – Negotiations between the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. group and GMA Network Inc. have taken on the quality of an on-again-off-again “lovers’ quarrel,” business executive Manuel V. Pangilinan said on Friday.
“But at the moment, we are on,” Pangilinan said, speaking on the second day of a conference of the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines.
Responding to questions from the audience, Pangilinan said negotiations with GMA’s controlling shareholders, namely the Duavit, Gozon, and Jimenez families, continued to move forward.
“It’s like an ‘LQ’ (lovers’ quarrel),” he said. “Sometimes we are on, sometimes we are off,” Pangilinan said.
He declined to give details due to the sensitivity of the matter.
At a press conference earlier this week, GMA Network chair Felipe Gozon said several “unresolved” issues could threaten the outcome of the talks between the two groups.
The Pangilinan group has offered to acquire the 79 percent of GMA held by the three families. The company is currently worth around P48 billion, including privately held preferred shares that have a fifth of the value of GMA’s listed shares but carry the same weight when voting.
“Of course, any group that is acquiring will have to pay a premium,” Gozon said.
Gozon hinted that the negotiations, being done purely through intermediaries, had bogged down due to issues unrelated to pricing. He said all three families were in agreement that until all issues were resolved, a deal would be impossible.
“Just to be clear, we are not peddling our company. We are just as happy staying in control,” Gozon said.
Both Pangilinan and the GMA group have said that if they do not agree on all fronts before the year ends, a deal would not push through.
This is the second time the Pangilinan group has tried to acquire GMA. The first was in the early 2000s, before the network went public. Pangilinan intends to use GMA’s ability to generate content to complement PLDT’s telecom services.
The PLDT group, through MediaQuest Holdings, controls Associated Broadcasting Corp., operator of the TV5 network. MediaQuest is a subsidiary of PLDT’s Beneficial Trust Fund.
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