PLDT threatens to abandon Digitel merger if approval not secured by 26 August

19 Aug 2011

Dow Jones Newswires writes that Filipino telecoms giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) may turn its back on a plan to acquire a majority stake in the country’s number three operator Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Digitel) if it fails in its bid to secure regulatory approval for the deal by 26 August – the revised deadline to close the transaction. PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan is quoted yesterday as saying: ‘We have extended [the deadline] until 26 August and if nothing would happen by that time, then maybe we will just call it a day,’ the official told journalists. Although Pangilinan is on record as calling the proposed merger a potential ‘game changer’ for the Philippines’ telecoms industry, his frustration at the apparent impasse is clear.

At the start of this month PLDT extended for the second time, the deadline date for its proposed acquisition of a 51.55% stake in Digitel, which owns the Sun Cellular mobile brand. With regulators committing to undertake an extensive review of the deal amid antimonopoly complaints from rival telcos and lawmakers, PLDT and Digitel’s existing majority owner JG Summit Holdings have now set a 26 August target date for the planned PHP74.1 billion (USD1.763 billion) deal. The two sides were hoping to conclude the transaction on 30 June.

Philippines, PLDT Inc. (incl. Smart Communications and Sun Cellular)