GMA junks buyout offer from Pacquiao, Chavit | Inquirer Business

GMA junks buyout offer from Pacquiao, Chavit

/ 01:19 AM December 11, 2015

TELEVISION broadcast firm GMA Network Inc. is looking at launching its own digital strategy as a new growth driver while banking on the presidential elections next year that would likely deliver political ads eclipsing figures in 2010, its top official said.

GMA chair and CEO Felipe Gozon told reporters late Wednesday that he was overseeing the company’s digital shift, and that the network was now working on its implementation and budget.

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The move is in sync with a plan by GMA’s owners to retain control of the company “to grow the business,” despite investment offers by various groups.

Gozon said the controlling shareholders, which include him and the Duavit and Jimenez families, had turned down a buy-in deal from a group led by champion boxer Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson.

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Earlier, failed talks included those with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Globe Telecom and businessman Ramon S. Ang, president of San Miguel Corp.

“Everyone is going digital,” Gozon said, while citing confidentiality in terms of its digital strategy.

GMA mainly competes with close rival ABS-CBN Corp. and in recent months, the company has laid claim to national ratings, citing its popular noontime television segments.

ABS-CBN has a head start in the digital arena, rolling out in February this year its ABS-CBN TV Plus boxes that allow television sets to receive digital signals.

“What I can say is we won’t have a box,” Gozon said.

Gozon said the aim was to increase their ratings in 2016, which would allow the company to corner the lion’s share of advertising budgets.

He said the company was on track to doubling its profit in 2015 to P2 billion compared to last year.

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“Every election year, everyone is optimistic…. the economy grows,” Gozon said.

The company recorded P2.05 billion in election spending revenues in 2010 and Gozon said the figure would be higher next year as rates have already increased.

Despite plans to grow and improve GMA, Gozon, who said the owners were not actively seeking an investor, did not rule out a possible sale given  the right offer.

“If someone offered double [our] price, we won’t even think about it,” he said.

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