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 ang discussions," 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. InterAksyon.com 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.
P2.3-billion profit forecast
"In short, we are happy the way we are and if somebody is interested and if we are offered a price that we cannot refuse then of course we will entertain the offer and that exactly what happened in the aborted transaction with MVP," the GMA7 chairman said.
"Any revival will not come from us. As I said we are not selling the company, we are not looking for buyers. Will you [be] looking for buyers if you [are] already making money all the time," he said.
Gozon said GMA7 will earn at least P2.3 billion this year, and so selling the company isn't urgent for its majority owners, who apart from Gozon include the Duavits and the Jimenezes.
In the first nine months of this year, the company's profit rose 0.4 percent to P1.59 billion from last year's P1.58 billion, as revenues climbed 5 percent to P10.61 this year.
For the third quarter alone, GMA7's net income went up by 9 percent to P573 million from last year's P525 million.
"Given the third quarter figures, we are optimistic that the fourth quarter will bring even better financial results as we expect political ads to further boost our earnings for the year," Gozon said, adding that the company could easily make at least P2 billion from political ads, or the same amount GMA7 earned during the 2010 Presidential Elections.
"I think the candidates realize that TV is [a] very prominent aspect for their candidacy," he said.
"Next year we will make more than P2.3 billion. If you are in our position, will you go to the market to sell the company? But we are not mayabang or arrogant. If somebody does and makes a good offer we will not entertain," he added.