PLDT may walk from Digitel deal

Dylan Bushell-Embling
19 Aug 2011
Daily News

A frustrated PLDT may walk away from its plan to acquire a controlling stake in Digitel if it fails to secure the required regulatory approvals by next Friday.

PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan toldABS-CBN News that he favors abandoning the merger if approval is not granted in time.

While he stressed he was referring to his own personal views, he expressed a desire to move on from the deal in wake of the opposition from consumer groups and rival Globe, as well as the repeated delays securing the required approvals.

But the NTC has expressed confidence it will be able to come to a final decision on the deal before August 26.

The body concluded public hearings on the merger earlier this month, and is now sorting through the final legal and economic implications of the deal.

PLDT first announced plans to buy a 51.55% stake in Digitel for 74.1 billion pesos ($1.74 billion) in March. At the time, the operator had hoped to push through the deal by June 30.

Opposition to the deal has centered around fears it would return the Philippines telecom market to a duopoly, and that it would give PLDT unfair market power.

Consumer groups fear costs will go up for customers, as PLDT may be tempted to increase the prices of Digitel's lower-cost services.

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