GMA-Ramon Ang talks collapse

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GMA-Ramon Ang talks collapse
'I was surprised. I did not expect this,' businessman Ramon S. Ang says of the latest development in his planned acquisition of at least a 30% interest in GMA

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Talks have collapsed between Ramon S. Ang and the majority shareholders of GMA Network Incorporated for the businessman’s planned acquisition of a minority stake in the listed broadcast network.

GMA Vice President Ayahi Ari Augusto Chio informed the Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE) that talks between Ang and the Jimenez, Gozon, and Duavit families for the purchase of at least a 30% interest in GMA have bogged down.

“The company has been informed by its majority shareholders (Jimenez Group, Gozon Group, and Duavit Group) that the negotiation with Mr Ang on the sale and purchase of a participating minority equity interest in the company’s outstanding capital stock is now deemed terminated,” Chio said in the disclosure.

It’s been earlier announced that Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), planned to buy a minority stake in the broadcast giant.

Ang: ‘I did not expect this’

Ang was admittedly caught by surprise by the GMA announcement.

“I was surprised. I did not expect this. There was no indication they would do this in the middle of negotiations,” he said in a text message.

Analysts were also surprised, with many of them saying that the network must be asking for a higher price. (READ: Why GMA-Ramon Ang talks collapsed)

Ang pointed out that he is now consulting his lawyer on his next course of action. “I am consulting with my lawyer and I am awaiting for an explanation.”

In May, GMA Network, Incorporated president and chief operating officer Felipe Gozon told reporters that he was “no longer sure” if Ang would still buy a minority stake in his network.

“I have to be very truthful to you. The talk was some time ago, so if I say that we’re still close [to signing a deal], nobody will believe me so I won’t say it. At this point, let me just say that our attitude is wait and see. The ball is no longer in our court,” he said on the sidelines of a company briefing.

But when asked to comment on Gozon’s statement, Ang said in a text message,”Yes, [we’re] still in talks.” (READ: Is Ramon Ang buying GMA? Network chief now uncertain)

Dragged talks

As early as June 2014, Ang announced that the planned acquisition of a 30% stake in GMA was a done deal. The shareholders of GMA and Ang were looking at signing the purchase agreement as early November last year.

Gozon explained that the majority shareholders of GMA have already presented their “cards on the table,” and it was now “up to Ang” to decide.

Asked last month if he’s now open to taking offers from other suitors, Gozon replied, “Since I’m no longer sure, it depends on the suitor whether they would like to court us or not.”

He also explained that shareholders are open to entertaining offers from other potential buyers.

“From the very beginning, even before we were not selling our share, there are many buyers who were willing to buy, so we are entertaining their offers,” Gozon said.

Shareholders of GMA entered into talks with Ang after negotiations with dominant telecom company Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) chaired by Manuel V. Pangilinan bogged down anew. –

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