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No plan to revive GMA talks – PLDT

MANILA, Philippines - Dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has no plans of reviving talks with GMA Network Inc. amid the ongoing negotiations with businessman Ramon S. Ang for a stake in the listed broadcast company.

PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a press conference that the telecommunications company is not inclined to make another offer after its bid to buy an interest in GMA expired last February.

“We have no plans to make a reoffer with respect to GMA. There are no ongoing discussions with shareholders of GMA and there are no plans,” Pangilinan stressed.

The PLDT chief issued the statement after both Ang and GMA chairman Felipe Gozon confirmed the ongoing talks for the possible acquisition of a stake in the listed broadcasting company.

“We are talking. I can not disclose any details because as I said our discussions are covered by a confidentiality agreement,” Gozon told reporters the other day but refused to divulge more details.

Gozon said he is confident that the talks which started early this year would be concluded soon.

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“I don’t really know why Mr. (Ramon) Ang is very, very interested in buying into GMA,” he added.

Ang has reportedly bought a stake in Solar Entertainment Inc. of businessman Wilson Tieng.

Pangilinan announced last March 4 that talks with GMA collapsed anew after its offer to buy a minority stake in the company owned by the Gozon, Duavit, and Jimenez families expired early last February.

Talks resumed last December after both PLDT and GMA agreed to terminate talks for the acquisition of a controlling stake in the broadcast firm last October or even prior to the December deadline.

The PLDT Group through MediaQuest has expressed interest in acquiring the 79-percent stake covering both preferred and common shares owned by the families of Duavit, Gozon, and Jimenez in GMA with a market value of about P48 billion.

This was the second time the Pangilinan group has tried to acquire the broadcasting company after the deal entered into in the early 2000 was aborted by the buyer for unknown reason.

PLDT’s affiliate MediaQuest Holdings is looking at acquiring GMA’s common shares while PLDT would pick up Philippine Depository Receipts (PDR). PDRs are a form of equity reserved for foreigners as the Constitution prohibits foreigners from having voting shares in media entities.

PLDT’s Mediaquest has acquired a controlling stake in TV5 operated by Associated Broadcasting Corp. as well as interest in Philippine STAR and Business World. It also owns a minority sake in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Pangilinan said the PLDT Group has been concentrating on other media assets.

“We were too busy with other things with TV5 and all other media assets,” he added.

Pangilinan earlier told reporters that the PLDT Group is not keen on reviving talks.

“Well we don’t know. I am getting tired,” Pangilinan said.

The PLDT Group was looking at acquiring a minority 34 percent interest in GMA.

Gozon clarified yesterday that the shareholders of GMA did not ignore the offer made by Pangilinan’s Group.

“We did not ignore. He was the one who backed out. He just got tired,” he added.

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