ABS-CBN Corp. and TV5 Network Inc. have agreed to “pause” the completion of their P2.16 billion investment deal amid oppositions from certain legislators and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
The Lopez-led company and TV5 agreed to “pause their closing preparations” for 34.9 percent stake in the Pangilinan-led network “to address the issues which have been raised by certain regulators and NTC.”
The P2.16 investment agreement between ABS-CBN – TV5 was expected to be completed within this month, “subject to obtaining applicable regulatory approvals.”
“This pause will give the space for both media organizations to respond to the issues, and accommodate any relevant changes to the terms,” ABS-CBN said.
“Both ABS-CBN and TV5 believe that an agreement between the two media companies will have a favorable impact on Philippine media, and on free-to-air television—which remains the most affordable and extensive source of entertainment and public service to Filipinos,” the company added.
SAGIP Party List Representative Rodante Marcoleta earlier urged the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to probe the joint venture between ABS-CBN and TV5 to prevent a monopoly or consolidation of market power that would lessen competition in the market.
Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of TV5 ,in a recent interview, denied the allegation of a monopoly, saying that the network is still small compared to the other network.
“Maliit pa ang TV5, I don’t know why people [think] its a major media organization. Its revenue this year will be I think slightly below P2 billion. Were nowhere near GMA, probably less than 10 percent of their revenue,” he added.
Terry Ridon, convenor of Infrawatch PH reiterated that the transaction between TV5 and ABS-CBN “does not require the prior approval of Congress as this does not involve the sale of controlling shares of TV5 to another entity.”
“Further, it is our view that this transaction is not a competition concern, as both entities are not the dominant players in the broadcast sector,” he added.
Tiron added that the transaction breaches no NTC regulation, as ABS-CBN has more than adequately shown that it has no outstanding obligations in any agency of government.
“The new government should take notice that this transaction is entirely distinct from the franchise proceedings in the previous government, and if it is truly committed to its call for unity among our people, it should step aside and let this transaction proceed and allow all voices to be broadcast, no matter how inconvenient or discordant these voices may be,” he added.
The NTC in 2020 ordered ABS-CBN to stop operations following the expiration of its congressional franchise.
Republic Act No. 7966, which granted ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise to operate TV and radio broadcasting stations, expired on May 4, 2020.
The Radio Control Law bars the operation of a radio broadcasting station without a franchise from Congress.