Formula One boss submits new Saab bid

Formula One boss submits new Saab bid
The battle over the future of Saab Automobile took another twist on Wednesday as a group including Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital submitted a new bid to buy the Swedish automaker from General Motors.

“We have made a new offer showing the financial strength of Genii-Ecclestone and our long-term financial commitment to Saab, which means that we are capable of supporting Saab for a long period of time and are committed to the automotive industry,” Swedish businessman Lars Carlström told AFP.

“The offer was made an hour ago (at 1300 GMT). We expect feedback from GM within this week and we expect the start of discussions with GM within a week also,” he added.

He refused to disclose any details of the offer.

General Motors chief executive Ed Whitacre said earlier this week that his company wanted 450 million dollars for Saab, which has barely turned a profit in two decades under GM ownership.

GM, which announced plans to wind down the iconic Swedish brand on December 18, last week put Saab into liquidation despite several last-ditch bids for the company.

The bidders include the small Dutch sports car maker Spyker, the Genii-Ecclestone group, and a Swedish group fronted by the former chief executive of German truck manufacturer MAN and a former politician.

On Monday, a source familiar with the talks said Spyker is “the only one” with an “attractive” offer.

GM has said that it is continuing the wind-down procedure for Saab and at the same time studying any offers that come in.

Spyker founder and chief executive Victor Muller said Tuesday his company has the money to buy Saab and said GM was considering its offer very seriously.

Saab, which employs 3,400 people in Sweden, 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.

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