Jul 29, 2007

Marcos family: Stop GMA [7] stock offering

THE Marcos family is seeking to stop Monday’s listing of the GMA Network, claiming the late President Marcos owned one-third of the radio-television network through the Duavit block.
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“I want the public to know that there is a cloud of doubt [that] the shares of GMA… which are held in the name of Mr. [Gilberto] Duavit... were purchased with my late father’s personal funds,” former Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos said in a sworn statement.

Marcos went to the Securities and Exchange Commission

Type rest of the post hereyesterday afternoon to submit various documents, including a handwritten note dated Sept. 16, 1983, from then assemblyman Duavit, to support her claim that the late president was a “silent partner” of what was then known as the Republic Broadcasting System.

Duavit and his family now control 28.35 percent of GMA, and are expected to receive a P6-billion cash windfall from the network’s initial public offering.

Marcos recalled that in 1983, her father instructed her to undertake a legal audit “of certain companies in which he had an interest.”

Following a breakfast meeting in Greenhills with Duavit and his daughter Judith, Duavit sent the Marcos daughter a report, which she attached in her commission complaint.

A lawyer for GMA Network said that without an injunction or a restraining order, the listing would push through on Monday.

“What the Marcoses are contesting is the ownership of the Duavit shares,” said Gene Asuncion, external counsel of the GMA Network. “The Duavit family has all the documents to prove ownership of the shares.”

Asuncion said the listing had been approved by the stock exchange as well as the commission, and the Marcoses had not raised the ownership issue then.

“The climate for the listing remains good,” Asuncion said, despite Friday’s steep decline in share prices.

Based on the documents filed yesterday, a certain Rolando Gapud, who performed financial services for the former president, issued a sworn statement claiming that shares of stock of various corporations were held in trust by others, including Duavit, for and on behalf of the late President Marcos.

Ms. Marcos’ lawyer, J. Alberto Flaminiano, said the shares had only recently been accounted for and were now in the possession of the Marcoses.

“We are prepared to disclose more detailed and confidential correspondences regarding the aforementioned business transactions to the commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange,” Flaminiano said.

He said GMA Network did not disclose these issues when it filed its IPO application with the commission.

“Indeed, since GMA Network disclosed in its final prospectus that the Duavits were one of the three majority stockholders who would receive 28.35 percent of the enlarged share capital, without disclosing further that the shares held in the name of the Duavits were merely held in trust for our client and her family, the same would constitute false misrepresentation,” Flaminiano added.

He said the commission should suspend the company’s right to sell and offer its securities.

Commissioner Juanita Cueto, who met with Ms. Marcos, told reporters that the commission could not stop the scheduled listing on Monday because the complaint was filed late Friday afternoon.

Ms. Marcos refused to talk to reporters waiting at the commission.

The commission has yet to review the complaint, Cueto added, but if the case involved intra-corporate disputes, then the complaint should be filed with the courts.

GMA Network is offering some 913.461 million common shares at on offer price of P8.50 a share. Of the offer shares, 822.115 million are Philippine Deposit Receipts to be issued by GMA Holdings Inc., and another 91.346 million are primary shares.

GMA Network said it would use the proceeds from the sale of its shares to improve its facilities.

For 2007 and 2008, the company plans to spend P938 million and P950 million, respectively, to build two television studios and to upgrade its broadcast facilities.
Manila Standard

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