PLDT chief Pangilinan remains hopeful on GMA 7 dealBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The group of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) remains hopeful that a deal on the acquisition of GMA Network Inc. will push through.
Negotiations between PLDT and GMA Network have taken a tone of an on-again, off-again “lover’s quarrel,” according to business executive Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“But at the moment, we are ‘on,’” Pangilinan said, speaking on the second day of the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) conference.
Responding to questions from the audience, Pangilinan said negotiations with GMA’s controlling shareholders—the Duavit, Gozon and Jimenez families—continued to move forward. “It’s like an ‘LQ’ (lover’s quarrel). Sometimes we are on, sometimes we are off,” Pangilinan said, but declined to give further details due to the sensitivity of the matters being discussed.
At a press conference earlier this week, GMA Network chair Felipe Gozon said several “unresolved” issues in the negotiations could threaten the outcome of talks between the two groups.
The PLDT group has offered to acquire the 79-percent stake in GMA held by the three families. The company is 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 negotiations, being done purely through intermediaries, have 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 had said that if they would not agree on all fronts before the year ends, a deal would not push through.
This is the second time that the Pangilinan group had tried to acquire GMA Network. The first was in the early 2000s, before the network went public. Pangilinan intends to use GMA Network’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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