Tv network

ABS-CBN in the Philippines cancels agreement to buy rival television network

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  • ABS-CBN shares fall 12%
  • Termination follows legality concerns
  • ABS-CBN lost broadcasting rights after Duterte feud

MANILA, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN Corp (ABS.PS) said on Thursday it had terminated a deal to acquire a minority stake in local operator TV5 Network Inc, weeks after some lawmakers questioned the legality of the plan.

ABS-CBN, which primarily broadcasts content online since losing its rights to operate radio and television frequencies in 2020, has given no reason for canceling the deal, which it says him, was a mutual decision.

The termination follows concern from some lawmakers during an investigation last week that TV5 could violate its franchise if it goes ahead with plans to sell a 35% stake to ABS-CBN for 2, 16 billion pesos ($38.3 million).

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“The parties have confirmed that they have not implemented any of the transactions covered by the investment agreement,” ABS-CBN said in a statement.

The agreement could have enabled ABS-CBN to broadcast some of its programs to a wider audience via TV5’s free channels. ABS-CBN said these channels remain the best source of entertainment and public service for Filipinos.

ABS-CBN shares fell nearly 12% to a one-month low as trading resumed after an hour-long hiatus on Thursday. The broader stock market index (.PSI) rose 0.19%.

ABS-CBN lost its broadcast franchise to Congress in 2020 and was among several media groups hit by legal or licensing issues after angering former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Before that, it was the largest broadcaster in the country, with a reach of up to 55 million people in the country and millions more Filipinos abroad.

The two companies also scrapped a deal for TV5’s cable unit to acquire a 38.88% stake in ABS-CBN’s Sky Cable Corp.

($1 = 56.35 Philippine pesos)

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Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty

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