Antitrust Body Issues Statement on Brewing ABS-CBN-TV5 Joint Venture
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has released a statement following news that a joint venture between ABS-CBN and TV5 is nearing completion.
On Thursday, businessman Manny Pangilinan, who controls broadcast network TV5, said that discussions between the media company and the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN to come together are in the closing stages.
A report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer said both companies were negotiating to form a joint venture that would be 65-percent owned by TV5 and the rest controlled by ABS-CBN.
But in a statement on Friday (August 5), the PCC said it expected both companies to conduct due diligence to ensure compliance with antitrust laws, especially since it concerns a sizeable merger or acquisition.
“This includes M&A or joint venture transactions with considerable share in the markets they operate in—such as the reported transaction between TV5 and ABS-CBN, two of the top media firms in the country,” said Atty. Johannes R. Bernabe OIC Chairperson of the PCC.
“The PCC's mandate to review transactions, whether on the basis of compulsory notification or motu proprio, remains in place to avoid the rise of new monopolies or consolidation of market power that may be detrimental to consumers,” it added.
ABS-CBN has not been broadcasting in a free-to-air channel since it was denied a renewal of its congressional franchise in 2020. It has since established blocktime agreements with other broadcast channels, including TV5 and Zoe Broadcasting Network. It continues to air content online via its YouTube channel and streaming platform and also recently signed a partnership with age-old rival GMA Network for the latter to air its extensive catalog of films.
Pangilinan meanwhile said his group would seek board approval for the joint venture with ABS-CBN “within the month.”
In a briefing with investors and shareholders last week, the Lopez-owned network said it was looking to return to profitability “in the near term,” after reporting that it cut net loss by 60 percent to P5.7 billion in 2021 from P13.5 billion the previous year. The company posted revenues of P17.8 billion last year, down nearly 17 percent from P21.41 billion in 2020.