Bilyonaryos Manny V. Pangilinan and Mark Lopez have realized getting the consent of President Bongbong Marcos was not enough to push through highly contentious deals between them.
Pangilinan and Lopez have mutually agreed to put an end to ABS-CBN’s initial purchase of a 34.99 percent stake in TV 5 and a convertible note that would have increased Kapamilya’s stake in Kapatid network to 49.92 percent.
The two have also agreed to mutually break off a deal where Pangilinan’s Cignal would acquire 38.88 percent in Lopez’s SkyCable, including a convertible note which would have allowed Cignal to gobble up the entire broadband and pay TV business of the Lopez family.
Both Pangilinan and ABS-CBN president Carlo Katigbak have reportedly obtained the go ahead from Marcos before finalizing the terms of the deal. But even the President’s consent appears to be not enough in the face of the vigorous opposition from Congress and the National Telecommunications Commission.
Congress, which rejected ABS-CBN’s franchise application two years ago, branded the JV as a change in control which would require TV5 to seek its approval or it would lose its franchise just like ABS-CBN.
Congress also claimed ABS-CBN should not be allowed to piggyback on TV5’s franchise until it has settled all of its obligations to the government that were unearthed during the congressional hearings in 2020.
NTC concurred with Congress’ stand that ABS-CBN must first address the violations cited by Congress as basis for rejecting its franchise application before proceeding with the TV5 JV.
Congress is also concerned about the Cignal-SkyCable buy-in (ABS-CBN needs to sell SkyCable to raise funds needed to invest in TV5) because it would give a bigger market share to Pangilinan’s PLDT which is already the dominant player in broadband and pay TV.
The termination came just three weeks after Pangilinan and Lopez led the signing of the landmark agreement on August 11.