mergers and acquisitions

Manny Pangilinan’s PLDT drops SkyCable bid

Ralf Rivas
Tycoon Manny Pangilinan says they were initially 'encouraged' to bid for SkyCable, but learned that the Philippine Competition Commission might step in after the deal

PLDT chairman and chief executive Manuel V. Pangilinan dropped the bid to acquire cable TV giant SkyCable, citing that state regulators may overturn the deal and may lead to their divestment.

Pangilinan confirmed that PLDT put out an offer for the Philippines’ biggest cable television company, which is owned by the Lopez’s embattled media giant ABS-CBN.

He explained that PLDT was not initially interested in the acquisition, but was “encouraged” when Bayanihan 2 – an act which had provisions suspending compulsory notification for mergers and acquisitions under P50 billion – was approved.

Sky Cable is valued at around P15 billion to P18 billion.

“In the beginning…when we learned that SkyCable might be for sale, we deliberately did not – we were not interested because we knew that the PCC [Philippine Competition Commission] would not approve an acquisition by PLDT of Sky, because there was clearly a consolidation aspect to it,” Pangilinan said in a virtual briefing on Thursday, November 5.

PLDT’s direct-to-home satellite television arm is Cignal TV – a rival of Sky Cable’s Sky Direct. Sky Cable also offers fiber internet services.

However, the PCC has issued its implementing rules and regulations last October, or a month after Bayanihan 2 was passed, which effectively gives them power to review big deals after two years.

“We were encouraged by the Bayanihan Act 2 was passed so we put in an offer indeed to [ABS-CBN], but then on further review by ourselves and by our legal council, we were told that there’s this risk of possible divestment by us on review starting the second year of the act so that’s really the main reason. Beyond that, there’s no other reason,” Pangilinan said. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.