MVP wants Lopez to throw in Sky Cable to TV5-ABS-CBN merger

The group of bilyonaryo Manny V. Pangilinan wants the Lopez family to include Sky Cable in the proposed 65-35 joint venture between TV5 and ABS-CBN Broadcasting.

Sky is the pay television arm and broadband of ABS-CBN which the MVP hoped to boost Cignal satellite TV and PLDT broadband.

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“The MVP group specifically sought for the inclusion of Sky in the proposed joint venture and ABS-CBN will most probably agree to it to bankroll its share in the partnership,” a Babbler from the ABS-CBN side said.

This was confirmed by another Babbler on the MVP side.

Sky used to be the biggest cable TV provider in the country until demand slowed down due to cord cutters and it was eventually overtaken by Cignal, which is under the MVP group’s MediaQuest Holdings just like TV5.

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Mediaquest is majority owned by PLDT, the leading broadband provider in the country.

Sky has since evolved into one of the biggest providers of fiber broadband and has become ABS-CBN’s bread and butter since it lost its franchise to provide direct-to-home service in May 2020.

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Last year, Sky incurred a P135 million net loss despite reporting P8.4 billion in revenues.

When Pangilinan announced that the TV5-ABS-CBN talks were in the “final stages”, the PLDT chairman stressed: “We are not acquiring ABS-CBN. We are not acquiring any shares in ABS, instead they will be investing in TV5.”

The Babbler said the valuation of the Sky assets remains the only remaining sticking point in the negotiations.

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According to the Babbler, ABS-CBN would use Sky’s assets to pay for its 35 percent stake in the joint venture.

ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak has already declared he has no plans to seek a new franchise because he’d rather focus on being a content producer where ABS-CBN has excelled.

Since the MVP group would retain majority control of the TV5 franchise in the joint venture, it does not have to get Congress’ consent since there is no change in majority control in the franchise holder.

The deal, however, is likely to be scrutinized by the Philippine Competition Commission because of the imminent takeover of Sky by PLDT/Mediaquest will further increase the latter’s dominance in pay TV and broadband.

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