Even if they failed to secure a fresh 25-year congressional franchise for ABS-CBN Corp., the Lopezes remain in good financial standing, and “can easily opt to convey their common shares in ABS-CBN to its employees,” Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Michael Defensor said on Sunday, July 19.
The chairperson of the House Committee on Public Accounts said the Lopezes “are fine and still in good shape”, considering that it still has four other firms, which are listed at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).
“Assuming the Lopezes divested from ABS-CBN, they still effectively control at least four other publicly traded corporations with a combined market value of roughly P136 billion as of July 17,” Defensor said in a statement.
According to the House leader, the four listed corporations– First Gen Corp., First Philippine Holdings Corp., Lopez Holdings Corp., and Rockwell Land Corp., were worth over P800 billion in 2019.
“Let’s say the Lopezes beneficially owned just a little over 50 percent of the common shares of the four listed firms since they are in control, they still have leftover assets valued at more than P400 billion a year ago and currently worth P68 billion,” Defensor said.
“We also understand they still have a residual four percent equity stake in Manila Electric Co. that is easily worth another P11.5 billion at market prices,” he said.
The House leader also took note of the Lopezes’ “privately held interests” in cable TV and Internet services as well as filmmaking for theatrical exhibition, among others.
“Considering their great wealth, the Lopezes can easily opt to convey their common shares in ABS-CBN to its employees, who can then report a change of control and seek a new broadcasting franchise from Congress,” he said.
He said investment bankers maybe tapped to facilitate the share transfer.
The House leader said since ABS-CBN’s current market value is pegged at P12.7 billion, “only some P6.4-billion worth of common shares would have to be assigned to effect a change of control.”
Last July 10, the House Committee on Legislative Franchise, chaired by Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez adopted the resolution of its technical working group recommending the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise application.