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Merbanco pulls out of race to buy Saab

TT/Christine Demsteader · 15 Jan 2010, 06:47

Published: 15 Jan 2010 06:47 GMT+01:00

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On Friday the website published a statement from Merbanco CEO Christopher Johnston.

”Despite our best efforts and meeting the Sellers requirements, we were just notified we were not selected to buy Saab,” he said. ”We are disappointed and quite tired.”

SaabsUnited.com said the comments were confirmed in private email correspondence.

”Sometimes the best deal is the one you don't do,” Johnston concluded as the Wyoming-based firm were forced to throw in the towel.

The news comes ahead of General Motors’s extended January 7th deadline for offers to by Swedish unit Saab Automobile.

GM has confirmed it has received a number of bids with Dutch sportscar maker Spyker in the running.

A group comprising of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Genii Capital, a Luxembourg investment firm has announced a bid to rescue the ailing carmaker.

Story continues below…

Swedish media has also reported a third bid approach by Swedish business leaders led by Jan Nygren, a former cabinet minister.

TT/Christine Demsteader (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

07:35 January 15, 2010 by Essingen
"Merbanco pulls out of race to buy Saab"

I am not sure that "race" is the correct word considering the length of time that this has being going on for.
08:43 January 15, 2010 by spy

Merbanco have said some very positive things about Saab and I am sure they will be remembered in Trollhättan with fondness as a group that deflected a fair amount of negativity away from Saab in its darkest hour - I personally wish them the best of luck for the future.
13:34 January 15, 2010 by Scotsaab
On balance I don't think Merbanco would have been right for Saab - but they were very positive and helped raise the profile to save the marque. They deserve thanks for their efforts.

The battle goes on.
17:21 January 15, 2010 by morchad
Merbanco, is that short for Merchant Bankers? lol
22:45 January 15, 2010 by falcon

Merbanco had the capital and experience to make Saab work. I would guess they weren't willing to overpay for what has become damaged goods. Saabs value declined every day die to GM hesitation and the l;ack of Swedish government support.

I agree with you, Merbanco did great things for Saab and their eforts should be remembered in Trollhattan.

In my opinion, they were screwed and I admire their pluck.
09:36 January 16, 2010 by spy
Hey Falcon it's not helpful to describe Saab as damaged goods. But I agree DB and GM probably ran you ragged and treated you badly - good luck with the next venture.
13:56 January 16, 2010 by Twiceshy
"it's not helpful to describe Saab as damaged goods."

But Saab IS damaged goods. Have you looked at its sales lately? They're declining much faster than the other carmakers'. No doubt due to the uncertainty in its future.

So yes, they're damaged goods. Whether they can repair themselves or not, remains to be seen.
17:50 January 16, 2010 by harrylatour
As a 70 year old British car enthusiast please allow me to bring some sanity to this debate,although it is nearly too late for us in the UK to save our vehicle manufacturing base it is not too late for you Swedes!! Never give up ALL of your vehicle building/research/technical ability,,,,of course other countries would love you to do that,,,,,,of course,,it is one less competitor for them!!Remember lads,,big things are coming and as Renault found by taking over Nissan they now have a good infrastructure for making EVs,,,,which is where the next ''big bucks'' are coming from. Only an idiot thinks that we are all going to get on a buss to ;save the planet; no, we still want our own transport.And if you can't build your own then the the Chinese will supply all your needs!!But gradually,with no manufacturing base the country will lose it's technology and all the other skills that go with that.So,hold your nerve and if you have to,,,,,Sweden,,buy it yourselves...your workers and desighners will proudly put Saab right at the cutting edge of EV tech!!! Harry Latour
18:47 January 16, 2010 by falcon

Saab is a good company but the process, lack of decision or poor decisions, and the wind down news certainly have damaged it. Saab has been victimized by this and value certainly hasn't increased. Even more, Saab needs a group with experience but those who have had it never make it.

I don't see how Spyker fits and can fix a challenge like Saab when Spyker can't make money on their own. I agree with Harry that Sweden should fight to keep Saab and Volvo and the only real hope today is a temporary Government takeover of Saab.

Merbanco say they offered GM what they wanted, and then lost anyway. I wish them the best of luck in the future too. They seemed a good fit.
11:30 January 18, 2010 by muda
It is either government temporary take over or every Swede comes out with USD45 then the brand will come back to Sweden.
13:32 January 18, 2010 by bezjaj
What kind of capitalism does Gangster Motors exercise? Selling must always be better than close..If there isnt a unlawful catch.
04:53 January 21, 2010 by Buccaneer

"hold your nerve and if you have to,,,,,Sweden,,buy it yourselves...your workers and desighners will proudly put Saab right at the cutting edge of EV tech!!! Harry Latour"

what do you not understand in this, the biggest stakeholders which happens to be the government or the people are not willing to buy or save SAAB. That sounds like it is a damaged good.

It is interesting that GM is playing scorched-earth policy, looks like someone has really pissed off the Americans. lol.

Anyway, SAAB or Volvo means nothing to me so I will not lose sleep over this.
05:16 January 21, 2010 by Buccaneer
"The US automaker General Motors has paid €650 million to its European unit Opel/Vauxhall to cover engineering services amid a restructuring of the troubled division, GM said on Monday".

"GM has decided to hang on to Opel/Vauxhall after initially agreeing to sell it off and needs €3.3 billion to finance the division's restructuring".

Why would GM bailout Opel/Vauxhall but is unwilling to do same for SAAB?

Like I said earlier, looks like the Americans were pissed off by something or someone. We may find out the true story someday. lol.
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