PLDT group to add ABC TV5 blocktimer to its media assets

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    MediaQuest Holdings, Inc.,  a company owned by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Beneficial Trust Fund, is set to acquire a majority stake in the blocktimer of the Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC) TV5.

    According to The Manila Times, Ray Espinosa, director of MediaQuest Holdings Inc., said, "MediaQuest is in the final stages of discussions with respect to acquiring a majority stake in Primedia."

    Espinosa said MediaQuest plans to acquire 75 percent of the Malaysian-led MPB Primedia Inc., which has a block time agreement with ABC Channel 5.

    Once complete, Primedia will be the latest in series of acquisitions by MediaQuest.

    To date, it owns 29 percent of Business World, majority shares of National Broadcasting Corp., a minority interest in CATV and operates 360media (formerly GV Broadcasting System). It is also still negotiating to purchase 87.5 percent of The Philippine Star for over PhP4 bn.

    The PLDT group has been looking for new acquisitions, particularly content providers for the group’s various outlets such as Internet, mobile phones, direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television service, mobile television, among others.

    Last October 15, Media Prima announced it was divesting from MPB Primedia. In an interview with Malaysian newspaper The Star, Media Prima said it had booked losses of up to PhP1.248 bn from 2008 to the first half of 2009, largely because of Primedia.

    A few days later, Media Prima announced it was buying into The New Strait Times.

    In a related development, Antonio Cojaungco, Jr. was reportedly pulling out of ABC as well.

    Media Prima is the largest integrated media investment group in Malaysia with a diversified interest in both the electronic (TV and radio) and print media besides content development, event management and outdoor advertising. 

    Soon after it gained control of ABC TV5 programming, both Primedia and ABC 5 found themselves defendants in a lawsuit filed by GMA Network Inc., Citynet, and ZOE Broadcasting, for violating the law on foreign ownership and management of mass media.