Saab company ownership update

Just to catch up on the news that was reported whilst I was away…..
Last week, it was reported that Saab had signed confidentiality agreements with 27 potential investors.
I should point out that one of our regulars here at SU, Ed K, works in mergers and acquisitions and was quick to point out that 27 confidentiality agreements can mean very little in the M&A world:

In a competitive M&A sales process for a company (as in the case of the sale of Saab), companies with any interest at all in a company or the industry in which such company operates regularly sign confidentiality agreements in order to get their hands on an information memo (and the valuable information contained therein), even if they have zero interest in purchasing the target.

But as ctm pointed out in the same thread, a group of 27 is a bigger pool of ‘potentials’ than just two or three, and should hopefully provide enough real interested parties.
From 27 to 10
The Financial Times and Bloomberg filed the most significant stories about this over the last few days.
Bloomberg are quoting one of those ‘sources familiar with the situation’ and saying that the number is down to around six serious interested parties. The implication, of course, is that the rest of the “Saab27” are just as Ed suggested – people trying to get a look inside.
From Bloomberg:

The bidders include an individual investor, a consortium of Swedish companies and at least two private equity firms, said the person, who didn’t want to be named because the talks are private. None of the most likely bidders are automakers, the person said.

It would be slightly disappointing if that last sentence were true. In case you missed it in comments, we did have a Koenigsegg executive sighting last week in Trollhattan.
The Financial Times were a bit more generous:

Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab’s managing director, told the Financial Times the brand would open the doors of its operations in Trollhättan, Sweden, to about 10 investor groups, out of more than 20 that have “shown a serious interest”.
“We are starting to have presentations on the business in more detail to potential buyers,” Mr Jonsson said, describing them as private equity groups, other financial investors and “international carmakers”.
“Our current plan is that there are about 10 we will review the business in detail with, then see whether we need to go further into the list,” Mr Jonsson said.
Saab would aim to shortlist two to three of these in coming weeks with the intention of finding an investor by the second half of May or beginning of June.

Those reports sound pretty accurate to me.
To have 27 parties suffiently interested in Saab to investigate them is a positive outcome, but to have as many as six being worthy of further investigation would be a fantastic outcome.
Saab are going to have to tie in with GM in the near-to-medium term, but I think they’ll try and move further away as progressively as they can. In fact, I can almost see what a few people have suggested here in the past – Saab becoming a bit like Lotus in terms of having some vehicles for sale, but also lending out engineering expertise to those who need it.
It just seems to fit.
From Automotive News….
….with thanks to the guy who’s name I can’t look up right now as Gmail seems to have blown up