GMA group, Ang trade barbs on talks breakdown
The prospect of a revival of negotiations between businessman Ramon Ang and the owners of GMA Network Inc. for an investment in the television network dimmed on Friday, with both camps blaming each other for the breakdown of talks earlier this week.
Both GMA and Ang, who is also president of conglomerate San Miguel Corp., cited “unresolved matters”, revisions and add-on proposals imposed by either side as the culprits that prevented the deal, involving the sale of a 30-percent stake by the controlling Gozon, Duavit and Jimenez families in GMA, from closing.
Both Ang and GMA did not provide specifics as negotiations, which lasted more than a year and culminated in GMA unilaterally terminating talks on June 23, 2015, were covered by a non-disclosure agreement.
Asked on Friday whether he would still consider investing in GMA, Ang said, “I don’t know.”
GMA, which is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, fired the first salvo Friday as it disclosed that the selling parties sought to correct any “misimpression that may have been created that they abruptly terminated the negotiations” with Ang.
The GMA shareholders said they were prompted to end talks after more than a year of negotiations, and because Ang allegedly “continued to make new/additional proposals and/or make new requirements after the sellers had already accepted all of the proposals of [Ang] on March 21, 2015”.
Ang, in a text message, denied those claims.
“That’s not true. As late as May 9, GMA was still sending revised drafts of transaction documents,” Ang said.
He added that he replied to clarify certain unresolved issues on May 18.
“On June 22 at 5:00 pm, GMA sent another letter stating their own views on the unresolved matters without saying that they would no longer proceed with the transaction. Then first thing the following day, GMA disclosed to the PSE that they are terminating. If that is not abrupt, I don’t know what is,” Ang said.
Some observers said the entry of a new investor would be beneficial for GMA.
Jose Mari Lacson, head of research at stock brokerage firm Campos Lanuza and Co., noted that the entry of Ang or other parties that had previously courted the television network could help spark more innovation within management in the same way GMA’s rivals are doing.
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