Duterte ally says no plan to buy ABS-CBN
ISM Communications Corp., which is being reorganized into the telco and media holding company of Davao-based businessmen Dennis A. Uy, said there were no current plans to buy television broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp.
“We wish to clarify that ISM Communications Corp, has not executed nor entered into any terms or agreement as regards the acquisition of ABS-CBN,” the company said in a stock exchange filing on Friday.
“Currently, there are no definitive plans to acquire ABS-CBN so the news article is merely speculation,” it added.
Stock market speculators were betting that a deal between ISM and ABS-CBN would push through, the Inquirer said in its BizBuzz column.
Uy is a known friend and campaign donor of President Duterte, who has repeatedly threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s television and radio franchise when it expires on March 30 this year.
Bills to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise have languished in Congress for years under Mr. Duterte, who accused the company of failing to air his political advertisements ahead of the 2016 national elections.
In a speech during a visit to earthquake victims in M’lang town, Cotabato province last week, the President ramped up his rhetoric against the Lopez family that owns ABS-CBN, telling them to “just sell it.”
The Lopez family has not publicly signaled any intention to sell ABS-CBN, which has grown into one of the country’s largest media groups.
The company was seized by allies of the dictator President Ferdinand Marcos during the Martial Law years from the 1970s until the regime was toppled by the People Power Revolution in 1986.
It has since diversified into high-speed internet services, theme parks and retail stores while offering more digital media content.—Miguel R. Camus
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