GMA 7 owners’ selling price: P100B

Controlling shareholders of GMA Network Inc. are willing to divest from the company at P100 billion as officials confirmed that the group of Manuel V. Pangilinan was one of several camps “seriously interested” in the possible buyout.

“If there is an offer of P100 billion, I will sign with my eyes closed,” GMA Network chair Felipe Gozon said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

Speaking at the sidelines of the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting, Gozon confirmed that there were offers from several groups to buy the debt-free company.

The Gozon, Duavit and Jimenez families own around 75 percent of GMA’s outstanding shares, including voting preferred shares not listed on the local bourse.

He said the P100 billion would be enough for the three major shareholders in GMA, as well as minority investors that own shares in the company through the stock exchange.

Based on GMA’s closing share price of P9.18 on Wednesday, the company currently has a market capitalization of P44.12 billion—less than half of the price tag mentioned by Gozon.

Gozon confirmed that Pangilinan, chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), was looking to buy the network.

“I don’t think it’s a secret anymore that [Pangilinan] is seriously interested in acquiring GMA,” Gozon said.

“But we have not yet received any offer that is acceptable to us,” he said, declining to identify the other groups that have approached the company. “There is an amount that all three of us would feel satisfactory for our purpose and that has not been achieved,” Gozon said.

The PLDT group has investments in several media outfits, most notably in Associated Broadcasting Corp. (ABC), operator of the TV5 network. The group’s media assets are held by MediaQuest Holdings, a subsidiary of the PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund.

On Wednesday, GMA announced that its first-quarter net income fell 27 percent to P388 million from P534 million. This came as consolidated revenues fell to P3 billion in the first quarter from P3.138 billion last year.

GMA president Gilberto Duavit said the slump was expected given the unusually high revenues that were booked in the first quarter of 2011.



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