Globe's BayanTel takeover hits legal hurdle

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Globe's BayanTel takeover hits legal hurdleThe Philippines' Globe Telecom has hit a roadblock in its attempted acquisition of Bayan Telecommunications (BayanTel), as a result of court action from rival PLDT.

The nation's Court of Appeals has instructed regulator NTC to suspend its hearings on the proposed merger, InterAksyon reported. This means the transaction is unlikely to be completed this year.

PLDT has asked for and received a 60-day temporary restraining order suspending the regulatory process, as part of its legal challenge against the merger.

PLDT is arguing that if Globe is allowed to acquire BayanTel it will have 95 MHz of spectrum, which will be harmful to competition. The operator is requesting that the NTC reallocate BayanTel's 50MHz of 4G spectrum through a competitive bidding process.

Globe arranged to acquire nearly 100% of the struggling BayanTel's outstanding debts in 2012 for $184 million, and had intended to convert this debt into a controlling 56.6% stake in BayanTel.

But PLDT objected to the merger on the grounds that it would breach regulations on spectrum allocation, and the legal wrangling has held up the acquisition process.

Globe has maintained that the proposed transaction is neither anti-competitive or anti-consumer, and that PLDT's $1.6 billion acquisition of Digitel in 2011 was by contrast a case of harming competition.

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