The termination came after top executives from Globe Telecom, according to the grapevine, met with GMA chairman and chief executive Felipe Gozon a month ago to discuss digital content and production partnerships.
"I was surprised. I did not expect this," RSA said in a statement, issued within an hour after Gozon broke the news to the network employees.
Almost simultaneously, the GMA Network released this statement to the regulatory authorities: "The Company has been informed by its majority shareholders (Jimenez Group, Gozon Group and Duavit Group) that the negotiation with Mr. Ramon S. Ang on the sale and purchase of a participating minority equity interest in the Company's outstanding capital stock is now deemed terminated."
Despite weeks of media speculation that the deal was no longer pushing through, RSA sounded hurt, and caught off-guard, by the GMA announcement.
"There was no indication that they would do this in the middle of negotiations," said RSA, who, if going by earlier media reports, was supposed to have already forked out a P1-billion, good-faith down payment to gain 30 percent of the country's second-largest network.
"I am consulting my lawyer and I am waiting for an explanation," RSA said without additional elaboration.
Yesterday's one-sentence disclosure from GMA Network, issued exactly a year after the network announced that the San Miguel president was taking a "participating minority equity interest,"was silent on the alleged P1-billion down payment.
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the money "remains with the three principal shareholders" of GMA, referring to the Gozon, Jimenez and Duavit blocs.
"While there was an agreement in price, both parties could not agree on the details like due diligence and representatives and warrants," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The negotiations broke down after RSA's in-house lawyers, meeting with Gozon's own law firm, "started nitpicking" on the terms of the sale and purchase agreement.
According to the pro-GMA grapevine, Gozon then started to believe industry rumors that RSA was being afflicted with an advanced case of buyer's remorse, especially since he had reportedly offered P10.80 a share, as against last week's close of P6.30.
"Lawyers handling the negotiations was a factor in the collapse of the deal," the source said.
According to unconfirmed industry chatter, the P1-billion down payment that RSA had given to GMA Network faces likely forfeiture, a standard safeguard instituted by owners from outside parties wishing to comb through the company's documents preparatory to an acquisition.