D-Day for Koenigsegg and Saab?

It’s Friday the 10th July and it might just be an important day in both the US and in Sweden.
In the US
GM are coming out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy today.
So that means Saab will be 60% owned by the US government along with the rest of “New GM”.
Fritz Henderson will be doing a press conference this morning. Who knows what the specific content will be, but I’m sure there’ll be smiles all round and corks a-popping.
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In Sweden
But who cares about that?
It’s been three weeks since Koenigsegg started their due diligence work, studying the internals of the company before presenting what I assume will be the first real offer that might actually lead to a purchase.
So that begs the question……how long do Koenigsegg get for their due diligence work before GM start saying show me the money?
Two weeks maybe. Three might be more likely – but would it be more than three?
If not, then this could be a pretty important day in Sweden, too. If today is D-day, then we still may not hear something for a while. I guess it’s up to Koenigsegg to either make their offer, or risk GM doing what they’ve done with Opel: opening up the field to previously interested parties.
The three primary players prior to Koenigsegg being selected were the Renco Group, Merbanco, and Beijing Automotive (BAIC). BAIC dropped out of the running once Opel started looking more attractive. Renco and Merbanco made the trip to Zurich but it was no dice for them, with Koenigsegg being named as the preferred bidder, much to the delight of many and the surprise of quite a few.
The time between than and now has been full of questions – and few answers.
How deep are the pockets behind the Koenigsegg Group? Will the Swedish government be put off providing loan guarantees by what Industry Secretary, Joran Hagglund, has referred to as some “shady” characters in the background? (Watch some of the sub-prime videos at YouTube and Google Video and you’ll see why they’re referring to Mark Bishop as ‘Alan Bishop’ now – most unpalatable).
And of course, what exactly do Koenigsegg plan to do with Saab, their expertise and facilities once they get hold of them?
It’s an exciting time for Saab. Mid-July was the time they hoped to have a deal written in ink, and mid-July is almost upon us.
Can Koenigsegg finish the business?
And if they can’t, what then?
Saab have until August 19th before they have to front the courts and ask for another extension to their Reconstruction process. I’m sure they’d prefer it if they didn’t have to do that.
Would that give another buyer enough time to do their own due diligence? And would those previous buyers still be interested?
With that in mind, I shot off some emails to Merbanco and The Renco Group to see what they both thought.
Merbanco’s CEO, Christopher Johnston, was kind enough to reply as follows:
While we are not permitted to comment directly at this time, we are always interested in opportunities that meet our investment criteria and where we can use our experience to add value. We remain big fans of Saab and Sweden.
That’s always encouraging to hear (if we’re permitted to be encouraged).
The Renco Group were less forthcoming. In fact, they weren’t forthcoming at all and provided no response.
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I hope Koenigsegg have the resources required and can get this done.
Not only would we have the excitement of being tied in to a supercool brand, we’d also have the challenge before us of watching Koenigsegg and Saab build what would basically be an all-new, all-Swedish car company.
You can’t get more tantalizing than that!

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