MANILA -- Shares of ABS-CBN Corp were placed on trading halt on Wednesday, after the Philippines' telecommunications regulator ordered it to sign off.
The National Telecommunications Commission issued a "cease and desist" order against ABS-CBN despite a request from lawmakers to grant the company provisional authority to operate beyond the expiry of its franchise on May 4 as they need more time to deliberate on its renewal.
"I think it was fair also to have a halt, otherwise it could spiral down because of uncertainty and that could also be bad for investors," BDO Capital President Ed Francisco told ANC's Market Edge.
"I still think there’s great intrinsic value in that and I’m hopeful it will be, Congress will fix it and they’ll get their temporary license or even a permanent franchise soon," he said.
The broadcast shutdown order also came as ABS-CBN sustained its broadcast and public service works, raising up to P300 million, to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
The NTC order covers 42 ABS-CBN television stations, including the flagship Channel 2, 10 digital broadcast channels, 18 FM stations and 5 AM stations, including DZMM radio.
"We trust that the government will decide on our franchise with the best interest of the Filipino people in mind, recognizing ABS-CBN’s role and efforts in providing the latest news and information during these challenging times," the company said.
"ABS-CBN remains committed to being in the service of the Filipino and we will find ways to continue providing meaningful service to them," it said.
ABS-CBN signed off past 7 p.m. Tuesday, at the end of its flagship newscast, TV Patrol. It will continue streaming programs on its websites and on its official Facebook and YouTube channels. Cable channels will also continue operating.
News.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.