TV5 to pay cash if GMA-7 deal pushes thru

Katherine Visconti
No deal price has been set yet but the GMA-7's majority owners are reportedly asking for P60 billion from the buyer

MANILA, Philippines – Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of TV5 media group, said his group would pay cash if and when it acquires GMA Network Inc., the operator of GMA-7.

“All cash,” Pangilinan told reporters on Wednesday, June 27.

“Well, we are talking to 3 major shareholders, but should we exceed, as we are likely to exceed the 35% trigger point, then it will require us an offer on the same terms to the minority. So the answer is yes. We have to make a cash offer to the minorities as well,” he said at the sidelines of Philex Mining stockholders meeting.

He is referring to the mandatory tender offer rule, which requires buyers of over 35% stake in a listed firm to offer the same deal price offered to the majority owners.

He agreed that settling on the cash price was proving difficult. GMA-7’s majority owners are reportedly asking for as much as P60 billion from the buyers.

Pangilinan refused to divulge how much his group is offering. In 2002, Pangilinan-led MediaQuest Hodlings Inc made an attempt to buy 67% of GMA-7 for only P8.5 billion. Negotiations were bogged down by pricing and funding issues.

Earlier, Pangilinan said he expects a deal with the 3 families controlling GMA-7 — Gozon, Jimenez and Duavit — to be sealed within the year amid pronouncements of Ramon Ang, president of rival conglomerate San Miguel Corp, that they are also eyeing to venture into broadcast. 

San Miguel’s Ang has not said specifically that he is interested in GMA-7 but said he would like to expand into broadcast media. Asked if he was concerned that Ang would edge him out of the deal, Pangilinan said, “No. Ultimately it depends on the 3 families who control GMA7 to decide whom them want to sell. They are the owners so they have every right to decide to whom to sell.”

GMA-7 Chairman Felipe Gozon said in May multiple parties have expressed interest in the network. Having two or more interested companies could potentially drive up the final price if the two had to make competing offers. 

GMA-7 and TV5 to stay separate

Pangilinan also stressed that, if a deal does push through, GMA-7 and TV5 would be united under MediaQuest Holdings Inc. but would keep their management and operations divided. 

“They have to be separate. They have separate franchises, separate managements, separate operations, separate profiles. So we will have to respect those,” Pangilinan said.

He explained that the deal would be similar to the merger between Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT) and rival Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Digitel).

Both telecommunications companies have retained their brands but have joined their infrastructure and harnessed the strength of a combined network. – 

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