GMA’s Gozon open to ‘reasonable settlement’ with Ramon Ang

Chrisee Dela Paz

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GMA’s Gozon open to ‘reasonable settlement’ with Ramon Ang
Meanwhile, GMA Network is scheduled to meet with PLDT and continues to negotiate with Globe Telecom for content distribution

MANILA, Philippines – GMA Network Incorporated President and CEO Felipe Gozon is open to a “reasonable settlement” to end his legal battle with tycoon Ramon Ang over a P1-billion ($21.84-million) downpayment for the failed acquisition of a minority stake in the broadcast giant. 

But Gozon said that he will not return the downpayment as a compensation for Ang’s alleged failure to negotiate in good faith. (READ: Ramon Ang slaps GMA’s Gozon with estafa complaint)

“I have the right to retain that. He violated the obligation to negotiate in good faith,” the head of GMA said during a media briefing on Thursday, August 6. (READ: Ramon Ang negotiated in bad faith, says GMA’s Gozon)

In a 19-page complaint filed with the Department of Justice on July 27, Ang accused Gozon and 9 other GMA majority stakeholders of committing syndicated estafa — which is a non-bailable offense.

According to Ang, the Gozons never returned his P1-billion ($21.84-million) downpayment for his planned purchase of 34% of GMA7’s shares – despite an agreement stipulating a return of the money should negotiations eventually fail. 

“It was [Ang] who backed out of the deal and acted in bad faith,” Gozon said. (READ: Ramon Ang negotiated in bad faith, says GMA’s Gozon)

Other than Felipe Gozon, also charged were the family members of the Gozon group of the FLG Management Corporation, namely Felipe M. Gozon Jr., Anna Teresa Gozon-Abrogar, and Ismael Augusto S. Gozon. Other respondents to the case were stockholders of GMA Network Belinda G. Madrid, Ma. Erlinda G. Gana, Jaime Javier Gana, Florencia Gozon Tarriela, Edgar Tarriela, and Tricia T. Valderrama.

Ang, who heads San Miguel Corporation, spared other GMA major stockholders in the complaint, such as Menardo R. Jimenez Sr. of the Jimenez group and Gilberto R. Duavit Jr. for the Duavit group, because he said both parties indicated their intention to return the downpayment.

“Mr. Ang is a very smart and experienced businessman. He will be very hard to defraud. We never defraud him,” Gozon said. 

Asked why the acquisition talks ended, Gozon told reporters: “There were things Ang asked for that we cannot give, like our marketing strategy.” (READ: Why GMA-Ramon Ang talks collapsed)

“It’s like giving to him our military secret and we’re not even sure that time if the acquisition talks will pursue. Look at us now, the talks were broke down,” Gozon said in Filipino.

PLDT, Globe for content distribution?

CONTENT PARTNERSHIP. GMA Network says it is choosing between PLDT and Globe for content distribution. In the photo are PLDT's Manuel Pangilinan (left) and Globe's Ernest Cu (right)

Although Gozon clarifies he is not selling shares of GMA Network, he said he is “open to good offers and content partnerships.” (READ: The love story of GMA-7, Pangilinan and Ang)

The head of GMA Network said he is scheduled to meet with the executives of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) next week, and continues to negotiate with Globe Telecom, Incorporated.

“We have a scheduled meeting with PLDT very soon, maybe next week, while the meeting with Globe is ongoing also for content distribution,” Gozon said.

For PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan, he said his telco is open to partner with GMA but has not resumed talks with the broadcaster yet.

“No discussion. For the moment, we’re focusing on PLDT,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said a partnership with PLDT on the content side could give GMA Network a multi-platform distribution channel of both digital and traditional content,  including mobile.

Meanwhile, Ayala-led Globe Telecom Incorporated said in a disclosure to the local bourse last June that it is open to reviving talks with GMA Network.

“As part of Globe’s normal business operations, the company is open to discuss other potential forms of business collaboration with various parties, including GMA,” Globe said in the disclosure.

The GMA-Ang talks was the fifth time that the broadcast giant terminated negotiations with a possible investor. – 

$1 = P45.78

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