Business

May buyer-in-waiting? Cayetano’s ABS-CBN franchise bill allows Lopezes to sell, merge without Congress approval

The House bill granting a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN to resume broadcast until October 2020 has a provision which will allow the Lopez family to sell or merge the media giant without the mandatory approval from Congress.

The House bill granting a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN to resume broadcast until October 2020 has a provision which will allow the Lopez family to sell or merge the media giant without the mandatory approval from Congress.

This was cited by abogado Trixie Cruz-Angeles as one of the three “hidden benefits” of House Bill 6732 which was railroaded by Speaker Alan Cayetano and which senators supporting ABS-CBN have no choice but to adapt in order to enact it into law before Congress adjourns on June 3.

Unlike rival GMA’s franchise, Cruz-Angeles said Section 11 of HB 6732 does not explicitly bar ABS-CBN from merging with another company or the Lopezes transfer controlling interest of ABS-CBN to any person or entity.

Section 11 of HB 6732 states: “The grantee shall not sell, lease, transfer, grant the the usufruct of nor assign this franchise or the rights and privileges acquired thereunder to any person, firm, company, corporation or other commercial or legal entity without the prior approval of the Congress of the Philippines.”

Section 12 of GMA Corp.’s franchise states :”The grantee shall not sell, lease, transfer, grant the the usufruct of nor assign this franchise or the rights and privileges acquired thereunder to any person, firm, company, corporation or other commercial or legal entity without the prior approval of the Congress of the Philippines, nor merge with any other corporation or entity, nor shall the controlling interest of the grantee be transferred whether as a whole or in parts, and whether simultaneously or contemporaneously, to any such private person, firm, company, corporation or entity without the prior approval of the Congress of the Philippines.”

Cruz-Angeles said ABS-CBN’s franchise would get the same perks granted to GMA ABS-CBN to “without the benefit of a hearing.

HB 6732 allows ABS-CBN to “install digital TV or other program and distribution services” that were not present in its old franchise which expired on May 4.

GMA’s franchise approved by Congress allows it to go into “terrestrial” technologies such as installing radio facilities for their private use. GMA is also allowed to go into program and distribution services.”

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