Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel has expressed concern over telecommunications giant PLDT Inc.’s plan to acquire Sky Cable Corp. which he said could result in the latter’s “death.”

PIMENTEL - House leader cites antitrust issues in PLDT’s planned Sky Cable buyout
House Deputy Speaker Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel
(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“The deal may easily be construed as buying out the competition in order to kill it,” Pimentel said in a statement Tuesday.

“There will surely be serious concerns about the business combination potentially reducing market competition and increasing the market power of the acquirer,” said the Mindanaoan, who also serves as spokesman of the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Pimentel said that assuming the deal pushes through, he expects it to be “thoroughly scrutinized by antitrust regulators who are there to ensure fair market competition for the benefit of consumers.”

Under the law, business merger or acquisition agreements may not be consummated without the approval of the Philippine Competition Commission, which may reject transactions that prevent, restrict, or lessen market competition.

“PLDT is in a position to conveniently replace all the products, including the high-speed Internet services, being offered by Sky Cable,” Pimentel said.

He added that President Duterte enabled the entry of a third major telecommunications service provider – DITO Telecommunity Corp.– in the country to boost competition, particularly in the delivery of superior Internet services.

“Existing Sky Cable subscribers might simply become PLDT Fiber and CIGNAL subscribers overnight,” Pimentel said.

PLDT also controls direct-broadcast satellite TV provider CIGNAL TV Inc. which competes with Sky Cable.

“PLDT regularly explores opportunities available to the group that may complement our overall business strategy. As such, PLDT is evaluating options with respect to Sky Cable for possible opportunities. However, there is nothing definite nor disclosable at this time,” PLDT told the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday.

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