Gozon confirms talks over GMA stake
Ongoing talks over GMA Network stake was finally confirmed by GMA chairman and chief executive officer, Atty. Felipe Gozon, after holding silence over rumors of businessmen bidding to buy or buy in the network since January of this year.
Gozon confirms that there are ongoing talks with Ramon S. Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corporation and Philippine Airlines. Supporting this confirmation, Ang sent a text message to ANC, which read, “Yes, in talks.” He offers to buy at least 30 percent from GMA Network’s majority shareholders and is considering buying GMA-7 in his personal capacity. Details on talks were not disclosed by both parties since it is covered by a confidentiality agreement. With Atty. Gozon’s statement quoted by Philippine Star’s Lawrence Agcaoili, “We are talking. Period,” there is no finality whether the negotiations would be better than former offers.
It can be noted that Manny V. Pangilinan, the chairman of PLDT group, had been eyeing GMA Network and had planned to buyout up to 79% stake in GMA-7 via Mediaquest Holdings, Inc., the beneficial trust fund of PLDT Co. It was then that Atty. Gozon said that many are buying, but no one is selling shares from GMA. Contrary to MVP’s takeover motto, “when we come in, we come in for control,” he revived his bid even for a 43% minority share when GMA did not respond to offers. MVP later acquired stake in TV5, the TV station operated by Associated Broadcasting Corp., interest in Philippine Star and Business World, and minority stake in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Then the buyout deal collapsed last March.
The news of this confirmation kicks in together with the report of GMA’s 46% profit plunge from P601 million to P325 million since last year. Despite the gap, the network remains positive that numbers would rise in the following months since the drop was caused by the lack of gains from election-related advertisements. Also, GMA International, GMA NewsTV and local regional sales posted favorable results which keep the network positive that they can hit the targets for the year. GMA will pay out cash dividends to its shareholders worth P1.312 billion at 27 centavos per share on May 19.