Philippine carrier to buy broadcaster

A subsidiary of the Philippines’ incumbent telecommunications carrier announced Thursday it has agreed to buy a majority stake in the nation’s second-largest TV broadcaster, furthering the carrier’s strategy to build a converged communications empire.

Mediaquest Holdings Inc.’s US$175 million bid for 66.67 per cent of GMA Network Inc. is backed by a consortium led by ePLDT, a corporate vehicle of carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), Mediaquest said in a statement. The ePLDT subsidiary is spearheading PLDT’s moves into Internet, e-commerce and multimedia businesses.

Mediaquest, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Beneficial Trust Fund of PLDT, already owns majority stakes in cable TV provider Philippine Home Cable Holdings and radio network Nation Broadcasting Corp. and also plans to offer satellite TV.

The PLDT corporate group hopes to compile a critical mass of content creation and provision businesses in a range of different media to exploit a growing market for entertainment and communications in the Philippines, the statement said.

The acquisition plan, based on a memorandum of understanding between Mediaquest and GMA, is subject to due diligence reviews and approvals. Mediaquest did not project in its release when the deal might be completed.

PLDT’s ePLDT unit, in Manila, can be reached at