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MANILA – PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan on Wednesday said his group will pay cash when it acquires GMA Network Inc.
“All cash. Well, we are talking to three major shareholders but should we exceed - as we are likely to exceed - the 35 percent trigger point, then it will require an offer of the same terms to the minority. So the answer is ye:" We have to make a cash offer to the minorities as well,” he told reporters.
“Ultimately, it depends on the three families who control GMA7 whom they would want to sell to. After all, they are the owners, so they have every right to decide on whom to sell to,” he said.
Pangilinan said the operations of GMA7 and TV5, which Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. owns through unit MediaQuest Holdings, would remain separate.
"They have to be separate. They have separate franchises, separate management, separate operations, and separate profiles," he said.
Pangilinan earlier said discussions with the controlling shareholders of GMA7 – the Gozons, Duavits and Jimenezes – were “moving positively.”
The PLDT chairman said he last met with the three families before leaving for the US to launch TV5 International.
“There are positive vibes on both sides. There is a chance that an agreement will be reached within the year but to close the conditions a precedent must be satisfied. There are conditions required on their side and there are conditions required on our side and if all of those are fulfilled then we will give them the money and they have to give us their shares,” said Pangilinan.
Acquiring GMA7 would hand over to the PLDT group a bigger share of the broadcast market, raising concern in certain quarters over an alleged monopoly akin to the telco's hold over the telecom industry.
Pangilinan however dismissed allegations that the looming acquisition of GMA7 will result in a monopoly, saying the country still has other TV networks.
He however said it was necessary for the PLDT group to invest in GMA7 because the telco needs content that would come from the media space.
“These two spaces are converging. PLDT has a choice to stay as a utility, as a delivery system, as an infrastructure system focusing on modernizing and upgrading its network. But simply being that. The next frontier lies in media space. How you blend the telco utility’s operations and the creative part of social media is a big challenge. Nobody has been successful yet. A small number of international telcos are attempting to do that now. For them to offer and deliver their own services they need the telcos and for the telcos to be able to enlarge their services they need the social media,” said Pangilinan.
He said the PLDT group’s investment in GMA7 would be coursed through MediaQuest, which earlier attempted to acquire 67 percent of the broadcast company.
Talks however fell through on differences over the price, with MediaQuest cutting its offer to P12 billion from P14.58 billion earlier.
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