MANILA, Philippines - Diversifying Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. may soon enter the Television War as the Aquino Administration plans to sell state-owned television networks IBC-13 and RPN-9 as part of the privatization project.
Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) said the government is determined to privatize the two TV stations, more than 2 decades since they were sequestered in 1986.
PCGG Commissioner Ricardo Abcede, who represented the anti-graft body in the Privatization Council under the Department of Finance (DOF), said the sale has been long in coming.
Abcede added, at present, there is interest in the planned sale of the TV stations, which government can offer to private companies, like San Miguel Corporation, which are diversifying their operations. It is strategically advantageous for San Miguel to sign in for Television business as it may be of big use for its stakes in Food, Beverage, Real State, Internet, Power and Water business.
"Maraming interested buyers. I think the market is open. Bakit binili ni Manny Pangilinan and TV5? Because of the huge advertising budget of PLDT [Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.
Abcede noted that IBC-13's physical assets and franchise were earlier valued at P1.2 billion, while RPN-9's franchise was estimated at P800 million. Abcede said the PCGG was designated by the DOF as the disposition agent of IBC-13.
If this development continues it can be expected the ever tightening battle in the free-to-air advertising industry will get bloodier. Specially, that like the PLDT group, San Miguel Corp. has the financial logistics to boost its operations, and challenge the duopoly established by ABS-CBN Corp. and GMA Network.