PHILIPPINE Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said he is open to another round of talks with GMA Network Inc. eight months after walking away from negotiations to acquire a minority stake in the network.
This comes after GMA7 announced in a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) last Tuesday that negotiations between its majority shareholders and San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President Ramon Ang have been terminated.
“You know, we’re always open to, as I’ve said, to content providers like themselves, like GMA 7. As of now, there are no talks between ourselves and GMA 7,” Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of internet TV service iflix.
When reminded about his earlier remarks that he had gotten tired of chasing GMA 7, Pangilinan replied: “Oo, eight months ago na iyon, nakapahinga na ako [Yes, but that was eight months ago. I have had some rest already].”
“Well, we’re not yet really ready. I mean, we haven’t really met internally to determine what course of action to take. Purely from my content perspective, it’s quite important to a platform provider like PLDT,” Pangilinan said.
Asked if he was surprised to hear about the collapse of talks between Ang and GMA, he replied: “Surprised or not, it doesn’t matter.”
GMA chairman and chief executive Felipe Gozon had earlier confirmed that GMA was in talks with SMC’s Ang for a possible investment in the broadcast network after talks with PLDT failed.
When asked if the talks with the PLDT Group could be revived, Gozon had replied at the time: “Anything is possible.”
Last year, Pangilinan said his group had no plans of renewing its offer to buy a stake in GMA Network, particularly after GMA confirmed it was in talks with SMC.
Negotiations for PLDT’s possible acquisition of a stake in GMA for P1 billion collapsed in 2013 after an earlier round failed, and it was then that Pangilinan hinted he was getting tired of the chase.
In October 2012, their first round of talks reportedly bogged down over price issues although 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.
According to Pangilinan, his offer to GMA expired already and that “a variety of reasons” led to the collapse of the talks. Asked if the talks could be revived, Pangilinan said at the time, “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 was quoted as saying.
PLDT was originally eyeing a minority stake of 34 percent in GMA.
Pangilinan said his group was “busy with other things, and with TV 5, and all of the MediaQuest assets. He was referring to the PLDT Group’s other businesses – TV5 through MediaQuest, which also has interests in BusinessWorld, The Philippine Star, and The Philippine Daily Inquirer.