Duavit: GMA-7 not for sale, unless offered the right price

Rappler.com
One of the 3 families controlling GMA Network Inc says the network can enter into a deal with TV5 as long as the price is right. This update on a long-awaited deal comes as GMA announces a dismal 2011 financial performance

MANILA, Philippines – Another owner of GMA-7, the country’s second largest media group, confirmed interest in a possible deal with TV5, the 3rd largest. However, price remains a sticky issue.

“The network is not for sale… but that is not to say it will not be sold for the right offer price,” the GMA Network Inc. chief operating officer Gilberto Duavit Jr. said during a press briefing on Tuesday, April 10.

He confirmed that there were talks with the camp of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, also known as MVP, the chair of rival network ABC Development Corp, which goes by the trade name TV5.

“There are no developments on the last offer from MVP right now,” Duavit added.

He declined to say how much is the “right price” but added that, aside from Pangilinan’s group, no other investors have expressed interest in the network.

“We’re all flattered by the continuous show of interest. Now, if there are any other interested parties, they have not, as of late, been intimated to us. They have not spoken to us,” said Duavit.

GMA Network chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon told reporters that his stake in the network is available for sale if it could fetch a price as high as “P200 billion.”

“Personally, for me, GMA is for sale for the right price. I don’t solely own GMA but for me that’s what I can say,” Gozon, a lawyer, was quoted as saying then.

Since 1974, three families – the Gozons, Duavits, and Jimenezes – own and control the network that go by the trade name GMA-7

“There are three major selling groups so that (the ideal selling price) has not been discused. And speaking for the group I represent that (ideal price) has not been determined,” said Duavit. 

Previously, Pangilinan said talks with GMA-7 were “very very preliminary.” He described GMA-7 as a “good investment‘ and stressed that his group has continuing interest in GMA-7.

TV5 president Ray Espinosa had said synergies could be realized when the two groups enter into a deal.

On Tuesday, April 10, the GMA Network told analysts that its net income plummeted 39% as costs were hiked amid dwindling advertising revenues.

However, its share price increased about 30% to P9.1, based on last trading price, from P7 in December 2011, when a possible deal between TV5 and GMA-7 were first reported. – Rappler.com, with reports from Katherine Visconti