PLDT and Globe Telecom’s acquisition of San Miguel Corp is approved

Natalie Bannerman
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Philippines’ Court of Appeals has deemed the buyout of San Miguel Corp by PLDT and Globe Telecom as legal

The joint acquisition by PLDT and Globe Telecom of San Miguel Corp (SMC) has been ruled legal by the Philippines’ Court of Appeals.

Back in June 2016, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) launched an investigation into the $1.4 billion deal saying that it was unhappy with the transaction documents submitted by the operators.

Both companies appealed the investigation and now that the deal has been deemed legal, the PCC will now have to abandon the review. In the document itself the ruling stated that the Philippines Court of Appeals: "deemed approved by operation of law and may no longer be challenged under the Philippine Competition Act."

According to the 54 page ruling, the PCC did not have the authority nor the expertise to investigate the deal and has said that the investigation must be carried out by the National Telecommunications Commission. It went on to say that the PCC had “committed grave abuse of discretion” by failing to follow its own rules after the announcement of the deal.

In a response to CNN Philippines, the PCC responded saying that it had not yet receive an official copy of the decision, adding:

"Rest assured, however, that we will take the appropriate legal steps to move this multi-billion acquisition case forward," the statement read. "We are firm in our resolve to perform our mandate under the law. We note that a year after the sale, the public continues to complain of slow, expensive and poor quality of internet and mobile services. If anything, this has further fuelled our determination to safeguard the market and promote the interests of consumers."

At the beginning of the year, the two operators caused further tension with the PCC when they paid for spectrum in full before the deal was approved. The move caused the PCC to complain saying, they “should not have proceeded with the payment” as the deal was still subject to the Supreme Court and its Court of Appeals.

Earlier this month, Philippines newspaper The Star reported that the prospect of competition for Globe Telecom and PLDT in the Philippines is closer after reports that foreign carriers may be welcomed into the market.