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MVP: No TV5-GMA7 merger, but talks ongoing

Businessman Manuel Pangilinan denies rumor that TV5 and GMA-7 have merged, but says talks are ongoing

MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of the country’s 3rd biggest media firm TV5, has denied a report that went viral on social networking sites about a supposed merger with rival GMA Network Inc (GMA-7). 

He confirmed however that talks between the two are ongoing.

“Some people speculated and all I said was I can now say we are under discussion but nothing finalized at this time,” Pangilinan was quoted as saying by TV5’s online news site, Interaksyon.com.

Pangilinan was referring to Philippine Star entertainment columnist Ricky Lo, who wrote a piece about the supposed deal that sent Twitter and Facebook abuzz early in the day.

Lo, in his column, said that Pangilinan confirmed during a June 2 press conference in San Francisco that TV5 and GMA-7 have merged. Pangilinan is in San Francisco for the contract signing between TV5’s international marketing arm and Dish Network, a large satellite broadcaster in the US that will be carrying content of TV5. Dish Network also beams GMA-7 shows.

Pangilinan denied Lo’s report. “All I said was – Please support TV5 here in the States. And, by the way, please support GMA 7 too (since Dish carries GMA). That was all. No mention of merger, investment, combination.”

Pangilinan’s group acquired TV5 in 2009 to complement existing utility firms, including telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT).

Pangilinan had wanted to acquire GMA-7 several times in the past decade, but finances, timing, pricing, as well as issues concerning the 3 families controlling the network got in the way.

GMA-7 is controlled by the Duavit, Gozon and Jimenez families. Network chair Felipe Gozon and president Gilberto Duavit have separately confirmed that valuation remains the sticky issue in the negotiation.

Publicly listed GMA-7 also reacted to Lo’s report in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, but neither confirmed nor denied it.

“We are not in a position to comment since we are not the source of the quote or information, or to definitely say whether the information is accurate or not. To the best of our knowledge, the source of this information is claiming to have been misquoted. We humbly suggest that if the Exchange wants to verify the source of the information, they can do so with Mr. Pangilinan who Mr. Lo attributed the information to have come from.” – Rappler.com

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