Monday, April 15, 2024

SEC, PCC see no irregularity in TV5, ABS-CBN joint venture deal

As far as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) are concerned, the joint venture agreement forged by broadcast firms TV5 and ABS-CBN did not violate any of the current rules or law.

Photo shows SEC general counsel Romuald Padilla (left) durinh the hybrid hearing

During a joint House committee hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 24, SEC general counsel Romuald Padilla said the SEC does not view the agreement as a “merger” under the provisions of the Revised Corporation Code.

Padilla, however, suggested that the matter of “controlling interest” be looked into by Congress to determine whether there is a need for its prior approval as mandated by the franchise law.

He also stated that they have already ordered ABS-CBN to provide them with copies of the investment and convertible note agreements.

PCC officer-in-charge Johannes Bernabe, on the hand, said the transaction is not notifiable based on the publicly available information of the agreement.

“It does not meet the transaction value under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2,” Bernabe said, noting that the law required the PCC to review only mergers and acquisitions with a transaction value of more than P50-billion for two years, or until September 15, 2022.

Moreover, Bernabe also noted that the PCC has to further analyze if the transaction of the two networks would effectively foster competition in the market.

PCC officer-in-charge Johannes Bernabe

National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) chief Gamaliel Cordoba, meanwhile, informed the panel that they issued Memorandum Order 003-06-2022, directing franchise holders to settle their obligations to national and local governments before entering into any commercial contract with another entity.

The congressional inquiry was initiated based on the privilege speech that Sagip party-list representative Rodante Marcoleta delivered during the plenary session on Aug. 15.

Ang sinasabi natin dito, kinakailangan ba payagan natin sila kaagad na makasakay sa ibang prangkisa ng hindi po nase-settle etong napakaraming mga sagutin na ito at obligation na taong bayan na po ang nakakaalam noong tayo po ay nagkaroon ng malawakang public hearing dito,” Marcoleta said.

ABS-CBN and TV5 have earlier announced that it was putting the deal on hold to address the issues raised by Marcoleta and the NTC on the proposed investment by ABS-CBN for a minority interest in TV5.

“This pause will give the space for both media organizations to respond to the issues and accommodate any relevant changes to the terms. 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 companies said.


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