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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MVP AIMS FOR MINORITY STAKE IN GMA7!

After months of speculation, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said they are aiming for a minority stake in GMA Network Inc.

In a phone interview, Pangilinan declined to comment on reports that PLDT is nearing the completion of a buyout of GMA's main shareholders.

He only said "it is a fair statement" to say he is aiming for a minority stake in GMA.

Unverified reports indicate that the PLDT group is aiming at least 40% of GMA7 after one of the three major family who owns GMA7 (Gozons, Duavits and Jimenezes) declines any offer to sell their stake with the PLDT Group. The Gozons according to reports welcomes the offer from MVP as competition in the advertising business intensifies.

Meanwhile, in a clarification to the stock exchange, GMA declined to comment on a "speculative" article, referring to the Inquirer's Biz Buzz column titled "Third time lucky?"

"The Company prefers not to comment on a speculative article based from an unnamed source. Furthermore, the Company is unaware of any agreement having been reached as mentioned in the said article," GMA said.

The Biz Buzz column indicated that PLDT and GMA's major shareholders have agreed on a selling price of P48 billion. This is lower than the PLDT group's P54 billion offer two years ago.

However, according to Biz Buzz, one of the three families (Gozon, Duavit and Jimenez) that control GMA is not keen on selling its stake.

Reports surfaced late last year that the network's major shareholders and the PLDT group have returned to the negotiating table.

This was not the first time Pangilinan had tried to buy GMA.

In 2001, PLDT, through PLDT Retirement Fund's MediaQuest Holdings, signed a deal with the majority shareholers of GMA for a controlling stake valued at around P8 billion. However, the deal did not push through.

In 2004, PLDT's Smart Communications revived talks with GMA, but again no deal came to fruition.

In 2012, talks between the Pangilinan group and GMA's major shareholders once again fizzled, reportedly over the price tag.

After its failed bid to buy GMA, in 2009, the PLDT group took over a 75% stake in number three network ABC 5 from a consortium led by businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco, also through MediaQuest.

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