Thursday, November 8, 2012

GMA7 Exec Felipe Gozon says open to revival of talks with MVP

MANILA - The chairman of GMA Network Inc on Wednesday said he is open to reviving talks for a buyout by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.

"It is up to them. But if they want to revive, we are ready to revive. If tomorrow, MVP comes back and offers a better price, we will entertain that," Felipe Gozon said on the sidelines of the GMA7's third-quarter briefing. 

"We are not closing the door. Tinapos lang namin angdiscussions," he added.

Gozon's revelations come a day after Globe Telecom Inc announced it had offered to acquire Bayan Telecommunications Inc, a move that analysts said would benefit the Lopez-owned telecom company more than the Ayalas. 

Globe said it initially was eyeing Bayantel, but didn't rule out a partnership beyond the telecom space. The Lopezes control ABS-CBN Corp, GMA7's top rival in the broadcast business.

Negotiations for the PLDT group's acquisition of a majority stake in GMA7 fell through last month because of differences over how regulatory risks are shared should the deal push through.

A PLDT acquisition of GMA7 would require not only the approval of the National Telecommunications Commission, but also the imprimatur of Congress, which granted the franchise of the two public utilities.

The PLDT group also owns TV5, which also hold a congressional franchise. is the online news portal of TV5.

Analysts had said that the collapse of the GMA7-PLDT negotiations set back the telecom giant's plan to grow its media assets.

Gozon and Pangilinan will meet to sign a partnership for the 2013 midterm elections, but the GMA7 executive didn't indicate if they will discuss the matter of reviving negotiations during the said meeting.

Gozon however said GMA7's owners "do not go around selling [the company] to anybody."

In this regard, he brushed aside speculation that San Miguel Corp, through its president Ramon S. Ang, had offered to acquire GMA7.

"I don't know if I can confirm or deny whether or not Ramon made a pitch to buy our company. There has been no conversation between us in that direction at least recently," Gozon said.

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