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ABS-CBN, TV5 cancel deal as state regulators, lawmaker intervene

By NICK GARCIA Published Sep 01, 2022 12:18 pm

From a "pause" in their negotiations days ago, media giants ABS-CBN and TV5 have "mutually" agreed to terminate their landmark deal to air Kapamilya shows on the Kapatid network.

ABS-CBN Corporation on Sept. 1 made a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Securities Exchange Commission about the scrapped deal. TV5 Network Inc. also made a separate disclosure of the same.

Had their "investment agreement" pushed through, ABS-CBN will acquire 34.99% of TV5 for an aggregate subscription price of P2.16 billion. MediaQuest Holdings, which owns and operates TV5, would then have a reduced stake of 64.79%, from 99.67%.

Cignal TV, MediaQuest's satellite television subsidiary, would have also acquired 38.88% of ABS-CBN's Sky Cable Corp. for P2.86 billion.

"The Parties confirmed that they have not implemented any of the transactions covered by the Sale and Purchase Agreement and the Debt Instruments Agreement," ABS-CBN said in a statement Sept. 1.

"The termination was also formalized through a Memorandum of Agreement. The Parties confirmed that they have not implemented any of the transactions covered by the Investment Agreement and the Convertible Note Agreement," it added.

ABS-CBN and TV5's deal going south comes on the heels of state regulators and a lawmaker expressing their misgivings.

The National Telecommunications Commission issued a memorandum order prohibiting franchise grantees from entering into commercial agreements with parties “that have outstanding obligations to the national and local governments.”

The Philippine Competition Commission, meanwhile, said the ABS-CBN-TV5 deal warrants a motu proprio review, or a probe even without a formal request from another party. That's despite the agency itself acknowledging that the deal meets the P50-billion threshold set by the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta previously said he wants to investigate ABS-CBN and TV5's deal, claiming there would be violations of the terms of the latter's franchise, as well as monopoly of market power.

Marcoleta was among the 70 lawmakers who denied to renew ABS-CBN's franchise. The network, then, went off-air in May 2020, leaving over 11,000 employees jobless and compromising several businesses within and nearby Sgt. Esguerra Avenue corner Mother Ignacia Street.

Since then, TV5 began airing ABS-CBN's popular primetime programs FPJ's Ang Probinsyano and ASAP Natin 'To in 2021. Last July, It's Showtime! made its return on television via TV5.