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Saab takeover talks go on as deadline passes

AFP/The Local · 16 Nov 2011, 08:41

Published: 16 Nov 2011 08:41 GMT+01:00

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"Talks continue between Swedish automobile and our Chinese partners Pang Da

and Youngman," Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told AFP.

"Discussions continue with the goal of (finding) a proposed structure for the future that everyone can agree upon," she said, stressing that it was especially "important that General Motors is okay with the proposal."

Saab's former owner GM has said it will block the transfer of technology licences to the two Chinese firms if they buy all of Saab, putting what is considered the Swedish carmaker's last chance of survival in jeopardy.

"GM needs to approve the deal if we are going to continue to build and sell

the current Saab line-up (the 9-3 and 9-5 models)," Gustavs said, insisting it

was "critical" to get the US auto giant onboard.

"GM holds the technology licences with those cars. We do need them to agree to it if we are to continue the business and not just wait for future cars," she said.

Saab's current Dutch owner Swedish Automobile (Swan) announced on October 28th that Youngman and Pang Da had agreed to buy the insolvent brand for €100

million euros ($134 million) and €610 million in long-term funding.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the parties expired Tuesday but

since this date was "self-imposed" it did not require them to halt discussions

unless one of the parties wanted to do so.

Another deadline would have more practical implications - Saab's court-appointed administrator, who has been tasked to lead it through reorganisation under bankruptcy protection, is scheduled to present a plan to creditors on November 22nd.

Gustavs acknowledged that if no concrete agreement had been reached between

Story continues below…

Youngman, Pang Da, Swan and GM by then, the sale of Saab could be in jeopardy.

"The proposal that will be given to the creditors will have to be concrete enough so that the creditors can take a position on it," she said.

If the administrator or creditors decide the presented plan lacks credibility, Saab could be pushed out of bankruptcy protection.

Saab was on the brink of bankruptcy when GM sold it to Swedish Automobile - at the time called Spyker - in early 2010 for $400 million.

It has been a rocky road since then. The carmaker was forced to halt production six months ago as suppliers stopped deliveries over mountains of unpaid bills and Saab's some 3,700 people have seen salary payments delayed four months running.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

21:00 November 16, 2011 by CRB
look what happened to Jaguar once it was out of FORDS control it became a world leading brand . GM like all US companies just want to bleed everyone dry. They are scared that Saab might be succesfull if they let the company go. its all about control. They cant put any money in because there own home brands are in trouble but they cant bear to see a brand they once owned flourish under different ownership
05:23 November 17, 2011 by axial
CRB, you ignorance on this matter is only exceeded by the utter stupidity of your drivel about the reality of this deal. For the record, GM is now profitable. Thus I am not certain what "trouble" you are referring to. Secondly, GM OWNS the license and technology to the 9-5, 9-3 and 9-4x. SAAB is little more than an assembly line. GM rightfully does not wish to sell the rights to these technologies that cost a little more than $1.4 Billion to develop sold to the Chinese for a little less than $134 Million. Furthermore, the Chinese could ostensibly use the technology to develop their own platforms and sell cars within China, thus undercutting and cannibalising GM sales, committing technology infringement and in essence intellectual property theft. The next time you open your trap, be certain you are educated as to what you are actually spewing moron.
11:52 November 17, 2011 by flintis
@axial:: is it that time of the month? not a sociophobe CRB may be ignorant of the complete details but he is far from wrong. GM is profitable???????????? not suprising after the cuts they've made & the people they've thrown into unemployment, noticed the fats cats at the top didn't suffer.

How awful for the Swedes if the Chinese begin selling cars in China, what gives the american car industry the right to dictate who sells cars to whom?

Not a sociable person are you, you sound like a typical american, blinded by greed & the quest for money.
12:35 November 17, 2011 by vancer
axial is spot on.

and flintis, the comment "what gives the american car industry the right to dictate who sells cars to whom?" is just stupid in the context of this issue.

As axial mentions the license and technology for 9-5, 9-3 and 9-4x are owned by GM NOT SAAB so they have every right in the world to dictate where they are sold.

Buying a factory doesnt give you the right to suddenly own all the products they produce there.

If i buy a factory in China where the iPad is assembled does that mean i am now the proud owner of all Apples licences and products and can start selling them myself?? of course it does not its totally stupid to think otherwise and this is no different to that.
17:58 November 17, 2011 by axial
To: Flintis, first of all, I am NOT an American. This is not about nationalistic idiocy, rather proprietary rights. Something you seem to be equally ignorant in as is CRB.

I am hardly antisocial, yet I am anti-stupid. Something you both seem to specialise in quite proudly. As Vancer expertly pointed out and I explained, GM owns the right and the license to the aforementioned vehicles. Do you understand rights? licenses? intellectual property rights? No. I figured as much.

No one will argue and certainly not I, that GM gutted and basically destroyed SAAB, yet SAAB's own mismanagement prior to GM ownership can be cited for its demise today. GM has absolute right to stop this sale! As for GM's management, no, they did not pay the price they should have for ineptitude. Yet that is not what we are discussing here.

This is about whether GM should protect its technology or not. They absolutely MUST! If the Swedish government had any balls, they would create a commission and nationalise SAAB and fund it. There is great value in the brand. However it seems this is now a failure of the Swedes to act and save one of their own. Much like the US saved GM!
21:36 November 17, 2011 by Just_Kidding
@ Axial: So basically what you are saying is that after being bought by GM, SAAB was only a assembly line and a brand, and was suddenly emptied from any capacity to develop cars and ownership of car designs.

So GM bought a company capable of producing complete cars with a worldwide reputation and turned it into just an assembly line. If so, why didn't GM just buy an assembly line somewhere without engineering capability accompanied with it?

Were they just playing a dirty game? What if china decides to cut the hands of this dirty player completely from its own market and just let a Chinese owned SAAB sell cars in China?

And when they were selling SAAB to Viktor Muller, did they mention that they are selling him just an assembly line which is prohibited from producing new SAABs for Chinese market?
00:20 November 18, 2011 by axial
@ just_kidding: No, that is not what I am saying. It seems that no one on this forum with the exception of Vancer understand auto manufacturing. SAAB was not merely an "assembly line" yet it has ostensibly become one. The current 9-3 and the next generation 9-3, 9-5, 9-4x and a slew of automobiles that SAAB had planned were developed and designed by in large part with GM technology and 100% funding by GM. The underpinning referred to as the platform is GM derived, owned and developed. GM ostensibly had a brand, and thus SAAB became nothing more than a design studio and assembly line.

That is why I said GM "gutted" SAAB. All the aforementioned cars are GM derived with SAAB badges. Thus the debate that long held the contention that these are not true SAAB, rather badge re-engineered GM cars with SAAB badges!

And if you followed SAAB's story that is why Viktor Mueller was adamant that the next generation of SAAB cars must be built on SAAB's own "PLATFORM"! This would free it from the technological hold, proprietary and otherwise from GM. Yet the funding was clearly never there.

You can argue as to whether GM helped or hurt SAAB and clearly GM provided a roadmap to disaster. Yet there is no argument as to whom owns the rights to the 9-3 etc., as SAAB has known all along they must seek GM's approval for this deal. This is not about where SAAB is capable of producing its cars. Clearly they have the technical prowess to do so. They lack funding. And as for the current cars, they do not own the rights. GM does. Period.

China can't cut the hands of anyone. SAAB, again DOES NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO THE CARS it assembles. The only measure left now, is if Swedish Cars cannot gain approval from GM to sell to the Chinese, they can liquidate the company and the Chinese can purchase a shell company. Because GM would dismantle and repossess the platform technology. The Chinese clearly DO NOT CARE FOR SAAB the brand, they want the platform technology. That is the real value here. Otherwise they would have allowed SAAB to liquidate and purchased it for fractions of the current deal!

Hope this helps.
12:45 December 6, 2011 by flintis
@axial; Never said you WERE americian, the words were SOUND LIKE.

As for GM, well its a typical Gordon Gekko scenario buy it for peanuts make a killing then destroy.

GM bought SAAB for technology especially regarding safety, in order to improve the crap they build in the US & make their cars suitable for the european & improving economies markets.
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