PLDT still keen on GMA
PLDT Inc. said it remained open to investment talks with the owners of broadcast giant GMA Network Inc., whose controlling shareholders signaled their willingness to exit the company.
PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters Friday that while there was no definite decision on whether PLDT would restart negotiations, he said the telco giant was “always open.”
More important for PLDT was reversing a trend of declining earnings starting next year, Pangilinan noted. He said any investment on the scale of GMA would “depend on how our numbers look.”
“We intend to focus on looking at our 2017, 2018 and 2018 numbers,” Pangilinan added.
GMA chair and CEO Felipe Gozon told reporters last week the company’s controlling shareholders would consider selling their 79-percent stake next year, if an offer was made. GMA, which mainly competes with ABS-CBN Corp. for television ratings, is held by the Gozon, Duavit and Jimenez families.
The possible sale follows years of failed negotiations to sell minority ownership.
In previous years, GMA’s owners have held talks with PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom for a possible investment, but a final deal never materialized.
Businessman Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corp., came close to buying a 30-percent stake in the company in 2015.
Those negotiations, which included a P1-billion “downpayment” by Ang, ended in litigation and an eventual amicable settlement.
PLDT, which controls third-ranked TV5, earlier said GMA was attractive because of the telco giant’s plans to marry content providers with its distribution network.
Gozon said a sale in 2017 also made sense given the election-related windfall it was expected to report for the full-year 2016.
GMA is poised to report a record profit in 2016, following the election advertising boost ahead of the May 9, 2016 polls. Gozon said net income as of Dec. 15 this year was at P3.5 billion. This places the company’s earnings 64 percent better than full-year 2015.
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