Thursday, December 22, 2011


 MANILA, Philippines - Diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) plans to buy one of the government-sequestered TV stations.

On the sidelines of the Cyber Bay Corp. annual stockholders meeting on Wednesday, Ramon Ang, SMC president and chief operating officer, said the company was interested to buy either IBC 13 or RPN 9 if the government would be ready to auction these off.

The company is undaunted by RPN 9's huge arrears and tax deficiencies, saying they could easily take this on since SMC has a lot of tax credits, according to Ang.

“If these are bid out, we will join,” he said.

Earlier, the government said that the privatization for the two stations, which were sequestered after Corazon Aquino assumed the presidency in 1986, would be done through competitive bidding.

The government is mandated to only operate the National Broadcasting Network 4, thus it has to let go of the two TV stations.

According to Malacanang, RPN 9 will be put on the auction block first.

The government used to own 86 percent of RPN 9 but this was trimmed down to 20.8 percent. About 34 percent of the station is now owned by Solar Entertainment through  a debt equity conversion.

Last year, the Supreme Court ordered that 32 percent of the network be given to Far East Manages and Investors Inc. of Roberto Benedicto, a crony of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

The remaining 14 percent is owned by various private stockholders.

IBC 13, on the other hand, has been semi-privatized when it entered into a joint venture agreement with Prime Realty, an affiliate of R-II Builders Group of Reghis Romero Jr.

IBC 13's Broadcast City sits on a 3.5 hectare lot that will be developed by the group through a P780-million real estate project. Only one-half hectare will be left for broadcast facilities.

MediaQuest, the parent firm of TV5 and Interaksyon.com, is currently a blocktimer of IBC 13.

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