MVP backs off GMA Network as San Miguel closes in

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Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Chairman Manuel Pangilinan (MVP) said on Tuesday his group has no plans of renewing its offer to buy a stake in GMA Network Inc., backing off further after GMA confirmed it was in talks with San Miguel Corp. for a possible investment deal.

Asked by this reporter if he has made any revised offer to GMA, Pangilinan replied: “No, we haven’t done that.”

In March this year, negotiations over PLDT’s possible acquisition of a stake in GMA Network at a price of P1 billion collapsed again, after an earlier round failed. Pangilinan then hinted he was getting tired of the chase.

“Our offer [to GMA]expired already. It expired in the first week of February,” he said, adding that “a variety of reasons” led to the collapse of the talks.


Asked if the talks could be revived, Pangilinan said, “Well, we don’t know. It’s getting to be exhausting.”

“We have no plans to make a re-offer for GMA. There are no ongoing discussions with GMA. And we have no plans,” he said.

“I guess we’re too busy with other things, and with TV 5, and all of the Media Quest assets. So we’d like to focus on those,” Pangilinan added, referring to his group’s other businesses – TV5 through MediaQuest, which also has interests in BusinessWorld, Philippine Star, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

PLDT had been eyeing a minority stake of 34 percent in GMA.

In October 2012, talks for PLDT to take a stake in GMA reportedly bogged down over price issues, although GMA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Felipe Gozon , who owns, along with the Duavit and Jimenez families, a combined 79 percent of GMA, denied that the differences over pricing were the reason for the failure of the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Gozon on Monday “confirmed” that GMA is in talks with businessman and San Miguel Corp. President Ramon Ang for a possible investment in the broadcast network.

“I am not allowed to talk [about that]because of confidentiality, but it’s substantial. I cannot be specific,” Gozon said.

“We’re talking, period. I can not disclose any details because as I said, our discussions are covered by a confidentiality agreement,” he added.

Pressed further about the level of interest by Ang’s group, Gozon said: “Very substantial. Very, very interested suitors. That means they’re really getting aggressive. It’s very very serious.”

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