MANILA, Philippines - Lopez-owned Sky Cable is planning to undertake an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares to raise additional funds for its expansion, a top company executive said.
In an interview with The STAR, ABS-CBN Corp. chairman Eugenio Lopez III said that with the recent acquisition of the cable television and broadband Internet business of the Destiny Group, Sky Cable is now more confident about its business prospects in the future. Sky Cable is a unit of ABS-CBN.
Lopez also revealed that they are currently studying whether or not to retain the Destiny Cable brand. “We already have a brand that takes care of the low-end segment of the market. In fact, that offering of Sky Cable is even cheaper than what Destiny has been marketing,” he said.
With the recent acquisition of Destiny’s cable TV subscribers, Lopez said their subscriber base has increased to around 800,000 nationwide, of which Destiny had around 200,000.
He explained that the initial thinking is simply migrate Destiny cable TV subscribers to Sky Cable since the infrastructure of the two cable TV companies are redundant and would therefore be more expensive to maintain.
Meanwhile, Lopez said most Sky Cable subscribers have already migrated from analog to digital cable TV. “Very soon, those that remain on analog will no longer be able to access the service since more and more of the channels are already being encrypted in the digital set-top box,” he explained.
Sky Cable has invested billions for the migration from analog to digital not only to curb cable TV signal piracy but also to offer value-added services such as pay-per-view.
Sky Cable last May acquired for P3.5 billion the cable television business of rival Destiny Cable Inc. (DCI) and Uni-Cable TV Inc. (UNI) as well as the broadband Internet assets and subscribers of Solid Broadband Corp. (SBC).
Sky Cable is owned by ABS-CBN Corp. while SBC is a wholly owned subsidiary of publicly-listed Solid Group Inc. (SGI). DCI, which mainly operates in Metro Manila, and UNI, which operates a cable TV business in Cebu, is owned by other companies held by the Lim family which owns Solid.
A few years back, Sky Cable also acquired the assets of Home Cable from the PLDT Group which now operates the country’s largest direct-to- home (DTH) satellite tv and second biggest pay TV company Cignal.