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'Nothing definite' on SkyCable bid, PLDT says

'Nothing definite' on SkyCable bid, PLDT says

MANILA, Philippines — There is "nothing definite" yet on PLDT Inc.'s reported plan to buy cable provider Sky Cable Corp. from embattled ABS-CBN Corp, the telecommunications giant said Monday, adding that the MVP Group-led company remains open to possible business opportunities.

"PLDT regularly explores opportunities available to the group that may complement our overall business strategy. As such, PLDT is evaluating options with respect to SkyCable for possible opportunities," the company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

"However, there is nothing definite nor disclosable at this time," it added.

The Manny V. Pangilinan-controlled telco firm issued the statement in response to a report by The STAR saying PLDT is targeting to strike a deal with ABS-CBN and acquire SkyCable when the Chinese ghost month ends in Sept. 16.

According to the report, PLDT,  which owns Cignal TV, a rival of SkyCable, is already raising funds to purchase the Lopez-owned cable provider. The banking unit of Ayala Group, parent of PLDT's main rival Globe Telecom Inc., is reportedly willing to help Pangilinan acquire SkyCable with a hefty loan.

In a separate disclosure to the local bourse on Monday, ABS-CBN did not confirm The STAR report. "SkyCable has not solicited this bid to sell the company, nor has ABS-CBN Corporation made any decision with regard to a divestment of SkyCable," the network said.

Reports about a brewing bidding war came after lawmakers allied with President Rodrigo Duterte denied to renew ABS-CBN's 25-year legislative franchise. In May, regulators shutdown the network's free TV and radio channels after its old license expired, a first since the Marcos dictatorship, followed by another stop order against SkyCable's digital broadcast in June, affecting 1.5 million subscribers nationwide.

Other cable services by SkyCable remain operation.

On Monday, shares in PLDT fell 2.02% to close at P1,455 each while ABS-CBN inched up 0.57% to P7 apiece.

Editor's note: A unit under PLDT's media conglomerate has a majority stake in Philstar Global Corp., which runs Philstar.com. This article was independently produced following editorial guidelines.