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MANILA – (UPDATED 11:05 a.m.) The investment of the PLDT group in GMA Network can either push through by the end of the year or be terminated, the chairman of the broadcast company said on Tuesday.
Felipe Gozon, GMA 7 chairman and chief executive officer, told reporters that the company has yet to discuss and agree on a timeline for the completion of the transaction with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.
"I think it will either terminate or go through within the year if that's the parameter you will give me because that's too long already to be talking," said Gozon on the sidelines of the broadcast network’s fifth listing anniversary.
While it has entertained other interested conglomerates before, Gozon said GMA 7 is talking only to the PLDT Group. This however doesn’t prevent GMA 7 from entering into discussions with other parties.
"From my standpoint, I'm wait and see. In any negotiations, there are outstanding issues to be resolved. If there were not, then we would have signed yesterday," he said.
If a deal is not concluded by yearend, then the controlling shareholders of GMA "have always been prepared" to run the TV network on their own, Gozon said.
"We are not peddling GMA. Somebody wanted to buy and we attended to [him]. There is no plan C, plan D. We were not selling GMA," he said.
PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan earlier said an agreement to invest in GMA 7 may be reached within the year, and that the telecom giant’s media arm, MediaQuest Holdings, may be used as the corporate vehicle for the investment.
Sources told InterAksyon.com that the PLDT group is in talks with banks for a loan that can help finance the GMA 7 investment. InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5, which is owned by MediaQuest.
Pangilinan had said it was necessary for the PLDT group to invest in GMA7 because the telco needs content that would come from the media space.
Need for convergence
Gozon as well agrees there is a need for convergence. "At the moment, we don’t have telecoms and we don't intend to go into that because that requires tremendous amount of investment. And besides it's too late for us to go into that now so we will just make our part of the convergence as strong as possible because they also need us like horse and carriage," he said.
"Good quality content is what will be needed by everybody when convergence happens. It's like having a highway and you need motor vehicles to pass through the highway or else the highway will be useless. And it's the content that drives the utilization of highways, but it has to be good quality content because there will be many choices and you are going to compete in a wider field and there are so many things to choose from because of multiplication of platforms," Gozon said.
He said GMA7 will be ready to invest in anything – such as broadband - that will provide the company better revenues.
"If necessary, we will go there but right now we don't need it. It's a separate business altogether," he said.
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