You are on page 1of 1

SWEDISH MATCH v CA case digest

FACTS: Swedish Match, AB (SMAB) is a corporation organized under the laws of Sweden, with 3 subsidiary
corporations Phimco, Provident Tree Farms, Inc, and OTT/Louie (Phils,), Inc.

In 1988, STORA, its parent company, decided to sell SMAB and the latters worldwide match, lighter and shaving
products operation to Swedish Match NV (SMNV). Enriquez, VP of SMSA (management company of SMAB), was
held under special instructions that the sale of Phimco shares should be executed on or before June 30, 1990.
Respondent GM Antonio Litonjua of ALS Management and Development Corp. was one of the interested parties to
acquire Phimco shares, offering US$36 million. After an exchange of information between CEO Rossi of SMAB and
Litonjua, the latter informed that they may not be able to submit their final bid on the given deadline considering
that the acquisition audit of Phimco and the review of the draft agreements have not been completed.

In a letter dated July 3, 1990, Rossi informed Litonjua that on July 2, SMAB signed a conditional contract with a
local group for the disposal of Phimco and that the latters bid would no longer be considered unless the local
group would fail to consummate the transaction on or before September 15, 1990. Irked by SMABs decision to
junk his bid, Litonjua asserted that the US$36 million bid was final, thus finalizing the terms of the sale. After 2
months from receipt of Litonjuas letter, Enriquez informed the former that the proposed sale with the local buyers
did not materialize and invited to resume negotiations for the sale of Phimco shares based on a new set of
conditions, as to reducing the period of sale from 30-day to 15, to which Litonjua expressed objections and
emphasized that the new offer constituted an attempt to reopen the already perfected contract of sale.

ISSUE: Whether or not there was a perfected contract of sale between petitioners and respondents, with respect
to the Phimco shares.

HELD: No, there was no perfected contract of sale since Litonjuas letter of proposing acquisition of the Phimco
shares for US$36 million was merely an offer. Consent in a contract of sale should be manifested by the meeting of
the offer and acceptance upon the thing and the cause which are to constitute the contract. The lack of a definite
offer on the part of the respondents could not possibly serve as the basis of their claim that the sale of the Phimco
shares in their favor was perfected, for one essential element of a contract of sale needed to be certain --- the
price in money or its equivalent. Obviously, there can be no sale without a price. Respondents attempt to prove
the alleged verbal acceptance of their US$36 million bid becomes futile since there was in the first place no
meeting of the minds with respect to the price, and such was merely a preliminary offer. Respondents failure to
submit their final bid on the deadline set by the petitioners prevented the perfection of the contract of sale.