The Gozon-Jimenez-Duavit management made the decision a month after Congress rejected ABS-CBN Corp.’s application to renew its franchise (which expired May 4) due to violations, including its foreign ownership which controls 62 percent of the Lopez network’s PDRs.
In its August 11 board meeting, GMA agreed to buy “at the closing price or lower of the PDRs at today’s market i.e. P4.55, effective immediately and up to October 31, 2020.”
“After the purchase and acquisition of the PDRs in accordance with the foregoing resolution, the Corporation shall convert the said PDRs into common shares,” it added.
There are 721.865 million GMA PDRs in the market with 78.592 million or 10.89 percent owned by non-Filipinos. In the last 18 months, GMA has reduced by more than half the number of foreign holders of PDRs from 173.48 million or 23.64 percent as of December 2018. The total purchase could cost over P3 billion.
GMA called the move “as a measure of protection of the investments held by non-Filipinos” in GMA Holdings PDRs which “might be affected by the findings and recommendations” of the House committee on legislative franchises on ABS-CBN’s franchise bid.