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Dutch billionaire could save Saab: report

TT/The Local · 25 Jan 2010, 12:59

Published: 25 Jan 2010 08:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Jan 2010 12:59 GMT+01:00

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The 50-year-old investment mogul is reported to have replaced the Antonovs, a Russian father and son banking duo whose major stake in Spyker represented a stumbling block to the deal for Saab owner General Motors.

With an investment portfolio ranging from Dutch free-sheet De Pers and daily newspaper De Telegraaf, to a wastewater treatment plant in China and a zoo in the Netherlands, Boekhoorn is one of the wealthiest investors in his home country.

News of a deal for the sale of Saab Automobile to Spyker Cars could come any day now, according to the CEO of the Dutch luxury automaker.

“Word will probably come tomorrow (Monday),” Spyker CEO Victor Muller told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper on Sunday.

Negotiations between Spyker and Saab owner General Motors (GM) are now in their final stages, with the Dutch company having offered about $500 million for Saab, its third bid for the Swedish automaker.

According to several media reports, Spyker has brought in additional financial backing. Sveriges Television (SVT) reports that the new financier has been approved by GM.

Earlier reports indicated that GM wasn’t satisfied with Spyker’s previous financing for the deal.

The local newspaper TTELA in Saab’s home base of Trollhättan in western Sweden, recently reported that an American investor purchased 5.5 million kronor ($758,000) worth of Spyker shares.

However, the entrance of an entirely new financial backer is seen as being more important than the stock purchase.

Story continues below…

The Swedish government’s point-person for the sale of Saab, enterprise ministry state secretary Jöran Hägglund, is in contact with both parties in the negotiation’s final stretch.

He has let GM know that it’s “reasonable to assume that there can be a state guarantee” for the critical €400 million loan which Saab has sought from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:20 January 25, 2010 by Craptastical
And now word is out that the deal is done, SAAB has been saved!
13:28 January 25, 2010 by derek hughes-beddows
does mean i will have to buy a new 9-5,....... oh go on then !!!!

monday will be a good day if this comes off today, i am so glad for the saab workers in sweden and abroad. They deserve good news and i am sure that the company, whatever they caal it will prosper in 2010.
16:38 January 25, 2010 by Nemesis
I am glad to see someone having faith in the workers of trollhättan.

I hope the investment works out and that he gets good return on his investment.
12:40 January 26, 2010 by karex
I'm begining to get this funny feeling that with their last objection removed, GM will just find something new to gripe about. I'm beginning to suspect that they have no intention of selling Saab, but just want to close them down. Who cares if the previous investors were Russian bankers? Maybe the GM investigators will now dig into the new investor's past to see if there's anything there which they can use as an excluse to refuse...
15:01 January 26, 2010 by tapaninyc
I must say I relly have enjoyed this reality-drama that the liquidation of SAAB has been. It so beautifully demonstrates the utter lacki of standards and professionalism among the Swedish journalists.

Anyone can make up anything, and everyone will report it. There are nine million 'sources' in Sweden, and not a single journalist who ever questions the validity of their claims. The SVT usually being one of the foremost gossip-spreaders, all while they are proclaiming their role as the biggest spreader of 'quality reporting.'

Remeber when a tiny Swedish middle-of-nowhere country paper claimed world-exclusive breaking news on Fidel Castro's death... The news spread like wild-fire through the Swedish media? Of course it was preposterous. But just too juicy a piece of unfounded gossip not to spread.

Well, the GM SAAB deal has been such a juicy story, SVT just cannot not take a lead on reporting one unfounded piece of gossip after another. Thanks for the cheap entertainment. But that is docu-drama, not journalism.
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