Tuesday, July 14, 2020

ABS-CBN drama: GSIS retreated, SSS stuck as Lopez parachuted

The market traders of the Government Service Insurance System were apparently better than the Social Security System's when it came to reading the ABS-CBN tea leaves.
According to regulatory disclosures, GSIS had 839,760 common shares of ABS-CBN in June 2018. By March this year, GSIS already had zero exposure on the Lopez network.
SSS, on the other hand, stuck with the broadcast network even as its franchise clock was ticking. The private sector's pension fund was reported holding 5,764,260 ABS-CBN shares last March, the same level that it had two years ago.
Strangely, even the Lopezes themselves appeared to have hedged on their own broadcast network as the prospects of its franchise renewal grew dimmer.
According to regulatory disclosures, Metrobank "as security agent for ABS-CBN Holdings" had reduced its holdings of ABS-CBN common shares to 243.67 million by March from 264.78 million two years ago.
Even ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio Lopez III apparently believed in the saying that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
'Gabby' Lopez, as it turned out, had quietly taken out his modest nest egg in the more controversial sister company, just at the PDR/foreign ownership issue of ABS-CBN Holdings was heating up.
Lopez, who holds both US and Filipino passports, had 1.34 million shares of ABS-CBN Holdings as of June 2018.
By March this year, the Filipino-American had disappeared from the shareholders list, without any disclosure from ABS-CBN Holdings as to when Gabby Lopez had made the disposal.
Based on other regulatory disclosures, the former ABS-CBN president and chief executive transferred his ABS-CBN Holdings shareholdings to an unknown party sometime in the third quarter of 2019.

Even as other parties were parachuting, there were a number of contrarian types who apparently genuinely believed in ABS-CBN's resilience.
Take BPI Securities, for instance.
The Ayala brokerage firm, either for its own account or its unnamed clients, doubled down on the country's network just as its parent, the Bank of Philippine Islands, was enlarging its loan exposure to the Lopez network.
BPI Securities only had 2.75 million ABS-CBN shares in June 2018. By March of this year, the account had grown nearly twice to 5.22 million shares.
COL Financial is another who swam against the tide.
The online brokerage firm had doubled its ABS-CBN stake to 13.8 million shares last March from 6.9 million two years ago, only to get exposed for swimming naked when the proverbial congressional tide went out.
A possible explanation for COL's "ipit" position?
Its army of day-traders apparently gave more weight on Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman's or even Ate Vi's exuberant projections than on Kris Aquino and her sphinx-like silence on her former network.
Heard through the grapevine
No office listing could be found in the internet about a "Global Kingdom Investments Ltd" that Chelsea Logistics said was infusing P500 million new capital into the shipping transport empire of Davao's Dennis Uy.

There is however a "Global Kingdom Investments LLC" based in Miami, Florida that is listed on the web, which when clicked on the LinkedIn account of its Latino president led to a, this is not a joke, Chinese website.