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GM confirms multiple Saab bidders

AFP/The Local · 8 Jan 2010, 17:03

Published: 08 Jan 2010 16:56 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Jan 2010 17:03 GMT+01:00

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone leapt into the race on Friday for GM's loss-making unit Saab, joining several groups making last-ditch bids as the US giant prepared to wind down the iconic carmaker.

Ecclestone's involvement was revealed by Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital in a statement issued just as the deadline for final bids expired.

The firm announced its "interest in making an offer for the acquisition of a majority stake in Saab in a partnership with Mr Bernard Ecclestone", adding that it had been "brought into the bidding process at a late stage by advisors close to the deal."

It also said it would "aggressively work towards a successful closing of the transaction with all the relevant stakeholders of the company."

GM Europe's spokesman Stefan Weinmann confirmed his company had "received several proposals" for Saab, adding the US auto giant was still going ahead with the planned closure of the Swedish brand while considering any new bids.

"Essentially, the two processes will continue in parallel, which means we'll continue with a wind down and at the same time we will look at the proposals and analyse them and see whether we can find a good solution for everybody," Weinmann told AFP Friday.

He confirmed Dutch sportscar maker Spyker was among the groups that had submitted a new bid but would not name any other contenders.

The Dutch sportscar maker, in talks with GM "since the beginning of December or even since November" according to Weinmann, made an updated bid for Saab shortly before the deadline for final bids expired at 11pm CET on Thursday.

"Spyker Cars today has made a revised offer to General Motors for the acquisition of Saab Automobile A.B.," Spyker's chief executive Victor Muller said in a statement.

Speaking to AFP on Thursday, Muller said: "It is the same offer we made during the weekend of December 20 (last year), but it is being completely refined following discussions" in recent weeks.

Weinmann left the door open for additional bids to come in, saying "if (the bids) we have received don't lead anywhere, and then down the road somebody else comes down with another proposal, we would be open to that as well."

"It is also clear the longer it takes the more difficult it gets," Weinmann added.

Swedish business daily Dagens Industri on Friday reported a Swedish group was also interested in acquiring Saab.

Story continues below…

The iconic Swedish brand, put up for sale over a year ago by its 20-year owner GM, has been on the verge of extinction since GM said on December 18 it would wind down Saab, citing failed talks with Spyker.

But the Dutch sportscar maker then made a renewed offer for the brand, sending the future of Saab's 3,400 employees into limbo.

According to Swedish media, Saab's board met for several hours on Friday in the company's hometown of Trollhättan. Unions were slated to speak about the meeting later in the day.

Saab is one of four storied brands being shed by GM as part of a massive restructuring effort that began in 2005 and accelerated last year when the largest US automaker went bankrupt.

Analysts have warned that some 8,000 jobs could be lost with Saab's closure.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:39 January 8, 2010 by millionmileman
I drove all the way to Detroit this last Tuesday, to save the the Saab related jobs, in the USA and Sweden, not to mention the rest of the world. Now it is up to the Swedish Government to back up the EIB loan.

The subsequent loss of jobs in Sweden will be intollerable, so please contact them to make this happen. Failure is not an option.
15:04 January 8, 2010 by oneputt
I just hope that GM is serious about selling Saab. There seems to be passionate groups out there trying to save this wonderful brand, but the more you read comments from GM, it seems liking winding down is their objective. We just came had the best month of sales in the States, 216% of objective. People want Saab. If GM would have paid more attention to how people feel about this brand, this could have been adverted. SELL SAAB!
16:38 January 8, 2010 by Scotsaab
He may not be the motor sport world's favourite character, but if Bernie Ecclestone is involved the the Luxembourg-based bid you can rest assured the finance is ther along with the business accumen and the connections to make Saab thrive.

He looks like a potential, if unlikely, Saab saviour and about the only hpe left as GM start pulling the plug.
22:49 January 8, 2010 by Lenape
The Swedish government must act, and act now. GM must be taken to the woodshed and reminded of what it is going to cost them to walk away. They should demand the payment up front, before they start decontructing the company. All they need to do is to tell GM that conditions have changed, and this is the new situation. The US government will not complaint as they are sick of hearing from Saabers in this country. Sweden is allowing GM to push them around and I don't understand why? Countries should be allowed to take steps to protect themselves and their citzens.

I get the impression GM and the government are working together to destroy this company.
00:19 January 9, 2010 by zircon
Ever heard of the Alfred von Snake Industries?
01:48 January 9, 2010 by michalino
GM doesn't act. seriously. They have to sell the SAAB. I wrote one week ago then please Wseden wake up and the Swedish Government should act right now. That's right way to save SAAB itself and the SAABs related jobs. The people "Saab enthusiasts" over the world support you. You have act right now. Back up the loan and SAVE THE SAAB!
02:58 January 9, 2010 by repat_xpat
There were a total of 28 SAAB enthusiasts at the SAVE SAAB protest on 6JAN10 at the ren cen -- not very convincing.

The GM that Sweden would take to the woodshed went out of business last summer. The New GM doesn't have such liability to the Swedish government.

"It's real easy, just show up with the money and you can have it,"

"But nobody's shown up with the money so we're in wind-down mode here."

"I don't think we could do any more than we've done. I think we've done everything possible."

-- Ed Whitacre: GM's CEO.
09:27 January 10, 2010 by muda
GM is putting pressure on buyers by start winding up SAAB. Why is SAAB so important to Swedish people. Let the market force determine its destiny
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