Latest: Koengisegg/Saab, the EIB and Swedish government

Holy cow! You have on decent night’s sleep and there’s news everywhere!
To recap what’s popped up in comments and on the web……..here’s your summary, under the following headings:

  • More money needed?
  • Ripplewood waiting in the shadows?
  • DN.se coverage (meetings and EIB)
  • Merbanco to the rescue?

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More money needed?
Bloomberg reported the following overnight:

Koenigsegg Group is in talks with Sweden and General Motors Co. about getting more funding than originally sought for its potential takeover of Saab Automobile.
GM and Koenigsegg are holding discussions with Swedish officials focused on guarantees for European Investment Bank loans, Haakan Lind, a government spokesman, said in a telephone interview today.
Koenigsegg, which was chosen as favorite bidder for Saab on June 11 and is in exclusive talks with GM, raised its demands for funds from Sweden and the Detroit-based carmaker to a total of $1.5 billion from $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because the talks are private.

There are plenty of news sources reporting the meeting between Hagglund and Koenigsegg, but Bloomberg is the only service reporting a need for extra funding.
This tells me they’re either extremely well connected, or they’re wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time a published news service has been wrong about events in this deal……
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Ripplewood waiting in the shadows?
Our old mate from Expressen is back and once again, he’s seeing smoke where there’s no fire.
Jan-Erik Berggren follows the popular but refuted notion that one partner leaving the Koenigsegg Group means that the whole thing is about to fall like a house of cards, then goes on to say the Ripplewood (RHJ) is waiting in the wings.
He also states that RHJ were one of the original three parties that GM negotiated with prior to settling on Koenigsegg Group.
Let me be very clear to those who have lent this guy some reading time: Saab’s future with RHJ is unknown to anyone, including people at Saab, I’d dare say. There’s plenty of water to go under the bridge with Koenigsegg before any other players would get into this market, and RHJ have their hands full with bidding for Opel.
RHJ were not one of the final three parties that negotiated in Geneva for preferred status with Saab. Those three parties were Renco, Merbanco and Koenigsegg. Berggren’s recent writings are a perpetuation of his own theories – and nothing more.
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Of course, the need for extra funding, if it exists, might signal that Koenigsegg are more abitious in their plans with Saab than anyone realised.
The automotive market is going to be extremely tough in the next few years. Accelerated/expanded model range, anyone?
That’s just a theory, not purported as fact.
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DN.se coverage
Dagens Nheyter have a couple of reports; one is on the meeting between Koenigsegg and the Industry Ministry, and another report is on the EIB process (both in Swedish).
Some snippets about the meeting, from a Googletrans:

Ministry of Industry would like to officially neither confirm or deny today’s meeting between Secretary of State Jöran Hägglund and representatives of Koenigsegg Group. But a meeting has taken place, the government wanted to clear up the uncertainties surrounding the ownership and financing.
– We had a need to get a grip on what they think and what there is of money behind this, “says a centrally placed source at the Industry Ministry to TT.
The data in the media that one of the owners of Koenigsegg Group should have sold its shares will now be fully investigated. Now the government has a clear idea of who is behind the consortium. The source would, however, not confirm details of the dropoff he would be the American businessman Mark Bishop.
Jöran Hägglund has previously asked for a “credible financing” to the state should put up guarantees for the deal between Koenigsegg Group and Saab-owner GM.
Håkan Lind, Head of Department, says that the work of investigating the question of possible state guarantee for Saab’s loan application from the European Investment Bank (EIB) of 4.3 billion goes as planned.
– We have the ambition to have all decisions clear to the Bank Board meeting September 22, “says Lind.

So:
The meeting has happened, they have a better idea of the group and their funding, they won’t confirm it’s Bishop who’s left and they’re working their collective butts off to get a clear picture to the EIB in time.

Some snippets on the EIB process:

Koenigsegg Group’s business plan for how to buy and operate the Saab has landed at the European Investment Bank. “We have received financial information and the staff is examining it to see if it contains the information we need,” says Eva Srejber, Deputy Head of the EIB.

Note, this is background info on Koenigsegg Group, not the actual loan application. That’s how it looks, at least.

On September 22, the Bank’s next board meeting. The earliest, then a decision to grant the loan is taken. But several obstacles remain. Riksgälden have frequent contacts with the Koenigsegg Group on modalities for the state guarantees for the loan. In addition to Riksgälden must complete negotiations the European Commission must give the green light before the Bank can pay out any money.


Anf finally, some snippets from the same article about “The Ghost” who’s reported to have left the Koenigsegg Group:

It was the end of last week as Secretary of State of the Industry Ministry, Jöran Hägglund, revealed that a person behind the Koenigsegg Group wanted to withdraw from the purchase of Saab. The reason according Jöran Hägglund be the great attention that the store received in the media.
According to reports in several media, it is the American businessman Mark Bishop who has had cold feet. Yet, there has been no change in Bolagsverket of executives in the Koenigsegg Group. This means that Mark Bishop still formally is a board member of Koenigsegg Group.
According to Gunilla Gustavs, spokesperson for Saab, there is an agreement not to comment on ownership until the deal is completed.
Why this secrecy?
– It is not secret. It is so that all parties want that no one should comment on the negotiations or the ownership structure along the way, “says Gunilla Gustavs.

This is all quite intruiging.
Hagglund was quite clear that someone has left the group last week. If that turns out to be false information, I’d imagine he should be placed in a position to answer for his actions: speaking out of turn and speaking falsely.
I find it hard to believe he could be wrong, however. If he were, I assume that there would have been something, anything, forthcoming from Koenigsegg to correct the statement. Considering the negative fallout that ensued, that would have been a must.
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Merbanco to the rescue?
Several have mentioned in comments the hope that Merbanco might come in and take up the stake that’s reportedly been abandoned/sold by one of the Koenigsegg Group’s initial owners.
With that in mind, I shot off a quick email to Chris Johnson of Merbanco.
His reply:

Thanks for your kind note and I hope you are well. Our group remains interested in quality opportunities where our wide experience in the distressed/turnaround arena, distribution, and value creation can be deployed for the long term. We are always delighted to discuss such opportunities. I can confirm we have not been approached on, nor are we engaged in, any overseas opportunities at this time. That said, we remain fans of Saab.

My thanks to him for the response.

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