AFTER A “TIRED” negotiation offer with Manny V. Pangilinan on buying GMA 7, Chairman Atty. Felipe Gozon confirmed talks Monday with San Miguel Corporation president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang.
The talks with the brewery conglomerate were rendered by the broadcast firm after a dismal accounting of the profit of the latter in the previous quarter.
According to BusinessWorld, Gozon confirmed that they are having talks, but he cannot have a “liberty to disclose the details, because this is covered by a confidentiality agreement.”
Ang affirmed the negotiations in a text message when asked about his interest in GMA.
The rest of the excerpt of BW follows:
Mr. Gozon also declined to say how much of the network was for sale, only saying “very substantial” in reply to a question whether the negotiations involve a minority stake.
San Miguel was rumored to be in the running for a deal with GMA after Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan dropped his bid in March, citing price as one issue.
Mr. Pangilinan, who then said he was “very tired” after three attempts since 2001 to buy GMA, last week said he was “not even thinking” of a new offer.
Prior to the failure of talks, PLDT — initially reported to be eyeing a majority stake — was said to be negotiating for a smaller 34% interest to avoid franchise issues.
Mr. Gozon said discussions with Mr. Ang began this year but did not say whether these started prior to the Feb. 8 expiration of PLDT’s offer.
“I don’t really know why Mr. Ang is very interested in buying into GMA. I really do not know. He is very, very interested. Very, very.” Mr. Gozon said.
The deal is “a separate matter” from a content sharing arrangment that GMA is eyeing with the PLDT Group and Ayala-owned Globe Telecom, Inc., he noted.
Mr. Ang, meanwhile, said the negotiations were with “all” of GMA’s three largest shareholders: the Gozon, Duavit and Jimenez families.
However, opinions on the acquisition are mixed from a blogger’s like or a newspaper columnist’s dislike.
Track record of San Miguel and GMA 7
In the previous decade, about 2005-2006, San Miguel Corporation leased a 15-minute, early morning block with Channel 7 called San Miguel Day Starters before Unang Hirit where they promote the corporation and its products. This year, GMA artists have endorsement on their products such as Vic Sotto for San Miguel Beer and Marian Rivera for Barangay Ginebra (as a calendar girl for this year).
Equilibrium on potential acquisition
The positive side of Ang’s potential acquisition of GMA would mean more revenues, which in turn, more investment to GMA 7. This side of the coin will see, as From the Tube yearned, the GMA 7’s own sports division, an improvement on ratings game and diverse programming choices (i.e. more internationally recognized game show than the current Saturday lineup). Also, this side will see a financial head-to-head competition with ABS-CBN.
But there’s a twist, when acquisition is realized, corporatism and compromised objectivity of the network is what in the minds of politically motivated social media scholars (PMSMS) conceived. If Ang acquired GMA7’s majority stock, as speculated over the politically motivated business-minded netizens, he would go par with MVP (TV5) and the Lopez family (ABS-CBN) as part of what the PMSMS’ termed: “oligarchy.” Moreover, integrity of the GMA News would be compromised if San Miguel grabs the majority stake in their portfolio. At status quo, GMA News and Public Affairs’ news coverage and documentaries has been appreciated and awarded internationally such as Peabody Awards and New York Festivals for non-partisan impartiality and reflective awakening of the society. This is not like the other network that composed of former politicians and a spouse of a current Cabinet Secretary that voiced out more on a particular party, a celebrity or their viewpoint, which is a mortal sin against the journalistic degree of independence.
With both sides of the tail detailed, is the GMA-San Miguel deal worth a try or rather a big no deal? Answer the poll below.
[San Miguel and GMA 7 logo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Atty. Felipe Gozon and Ramon Ang courtesy of Inquirer.net]