Victor helping Brightwell

di.se report that Victor is back on stage:

As an advisor to the Turkish Brightwell Holdings, one of the stakeholders to buy Saab, Victor Muller once again has an important role in Saab’s survival.

“I know Victor Muller well and it is difficult to stop his enthusiasm for the brand. We get much help from him,” said Ahmed Zamier, a director and shareholder of Brightwell Holdings, writes Dagens Industri.

The Turkish company claims to have funding in part by oil interests in the Middle East and also the full support of the Turkish state. On Wednesday, representatives of Brightwell Holdings are coming to Sweden for several days of meetings with Saab Automobile’s bankruptcy trustee. The goal is to make a bid for the company.

“Our plan is to start production as soon as possible with as many models as possible,” said Ahmed Zamier to Dagens Industri.

Saab’s suppliers have responded Brightwell Holdings’ interest with great skepticism.

I yet have to see a proof for the great skepticism of the suppliers towards Brightwell. In the end, there are not too much infos about their bid due to the confidentially agreement so it will be hard to judge for those outside the inner circle. And I can imagine that the suppliers would be happy with anyone who has a proper plan and the financial ressources to bring Saab back on its feet.

I like the quote about getting started again as soon as possible with as many models as possible. I feel like Youngmans statements giving definete amounts of weeks until production can start may fuel over-optimistic hopes. For any buyer restarting Saab is a huge task, financially as well as in terms of organization. Staying a bit more vague may be more honest in my view.

Victors involvement will of course polarize a lot. Regardless of what you think about his leadership he is of course one of those who know a lot about the company and can help a potential buyer getting the right bid into place.

Generally spoken it is of course good to see that talks with potential suitors are ongoing. This means things are moving and that the vague timeline to get a deal done until the beginning of March is realistic.

900 classic cab
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

That’s good… but I understand the skepticism of the suppliers, specially when reading “as many models as possible”. It sounds to good to be true…and relies on GM ?

OliverH
Member
4 years 7 months ago

ASAP is ASAP and not immediately
as many models as possible could end in zero (as possible)
The mentioned investor shows the financial force of Brightwell. Dependent from external investors. We’ve been there, we’ve seen that..
The wordings told nothing new. I wait for an outcome (whatever we see).

rune
Member
4 years 7 months ago

off-topic: A colleague of mine had an upset customer at the other end of a glowing phone line. She demanded a bug fix *ASAP* (“azzap”). My colleague confirmed there was an issue and replied “We will release a bugfix as soon as possible” which provoked the reply “‘As soon as possible’ won’t cut it! I need this fix ASAP!”.

OliverH
Member
4 years 7 months ago

😉

That’s what i meant. ASAP is mostly misunderstood.

900 classic cab
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

🙂

Alex740
Member
4 years 7 months ago
I completely understand their skepticism as well with Brightwell. Does anyone remember the last time an investor group took over a car company? It was Cerberus with Chrysler and they almost killed the company because they bit off way more than they could chew and investors just stopped investing in what they saw as a money pit. When Chrysler was taken over by Fiat, they revealed that the company had nothing in development because thee was no cash. Investor groups are made of of investors who want a return on their money and with a company as far down into… Read more »
hans h
Member
4 years 7 months ago

I am not so sure I like that the Turkish state is behind Brightwell. It has nothing to do with ethniticity, I might add, but it means that Saab would (again) be in the hands of politicians, and see where it got us so far.
And I am also a bit sceptical of the economics in the countries around the mediterranean. The seem to have one thing in common; bad economy.

In this case I vote for M&M. 🙂

TurboLamko
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Remember that all other politicians except the swedish do care more about their own companies so i’m not worried 🙂

Coke is it
Member
4 years 7 months ago

+1

hans h
Member
4 years 7 months ago

But remember that politicians change. And politicians change their minds.

liftarn
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Yes, their statement that they want a Turkish national car don’t make me comfortable. Turkey is very close to the European market so would they keep the factory in Trollhättan or move it to Turkey? Also if they want a national car would they care to get the right to use the Saab name or just call them Türk 9-3?

baas900i
Member
4 years 7 months ago

difficult to see the rationale behind bh, vm has every right to try and recoup his losses, wish swade would spill the beans on the actions by vm which led saab to this position…..

Swade
Member
4 years 7 months ago

VM is just one person. Saab had a whole executive leadership team running the place, not just him.

ivo 71
Member
4 years 7 months ago
I know that some here have kind of sanctified Jan Ake Jonsson but it wás actually he -and not Muller- who was CEO and the responsible person when the worst sh!t around Saab started to happen. And those ridiculous marketing campaigns that achieved exactly nothing also happened on his watch. I kind of doubt JAJ is the kind of guy who would let another person, even someone as persuasive as VM, just ride roughshod over him and take all the crucial decisions so, as I see it, he should shoulder at least a part of the responsibility as well. All… Read more »
rune
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Saab had an entire department devoted to marketing, did they not? In a company of that size, how much interaction does a CEO (and / or the owner) have with the marketing dept.? I am just a systems developer, but I would feel strange if my CEO started reading my source code and make ‘helpful’ suggestions. (maybe that is what happened? :P) It is, after all, not his area of expertise. Of course, if I consistently produced bad code over time, then I would expect the CEO to take notice and remedy that somehow. But one year is not a… Read more »
David-SAAB
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Wow. VM is a master at negotiation and tenacity. This is certainly a bonus for Brightwell.

Saabissimo
Member
4 years 7 months ago

The keywords in Till’s write-up are “…and the financial resources to bring Saab back on its feet.”

Another underfunded VM-constantly-chasing-money-solution would be a disaster. A well funded independent Saab on the other hand would be another story.

So there has to be substantial funds behind this option, otherwise the bid would make no sense compared to Mahindra for example..

nichell
Guest
4 years 7 months ago
As Jason Powell states M&M is made up of a lot of subsidiaries that together have a lot of experience , skill and the knowhow to build and market cars, suv’s, trucks etc on a global basis, whereas Brightwell is a holding company. Don’t know much about Brightwell, so I may be wrong. How many cars has Brightwell made? VM didn’t make much cars either and you can say that he was unsuccessful. Wasn’t he an accountant. I have great respect for him, don’t get me wrong but he was also in the same business as Brightwell, I think.
ivo 71
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Not an accountant. Victor Muller was -and is- a lawyer specializing in large-scale M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) involving the turnaround of an ailing company. And a pretty succesful one, having succeeded in bringing several reasonably large companies back into the black, followed by a profitable introduction at the share exchange or a sale to other parties. Seen from that point of view, it could be said that he and the people at Brightwell are in the same type of business.

Ivo

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Vagabond, don’t be to quick to write them off. I’ve been doing some digging to try to put something together on Brightwell and their history and their array of companies is quite broad, they have for instance a boat company that has been working on alternative fuels and electric models and Alphan Manas is very well connected through dealings within the Government and business. As much as Brightwell has been in business since 2006, Manas has a proven track record and is considered a thinker of the future and himself and the company have a great record of management. We… Read more »
paddan
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Talk is cheap. How is Brightwell going to start production again?

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 7 months ago

There’s always talk before action though. There is some definite substance to this group and they don’t seem like a company that would just blindly throw money around.

900jubileum
Member
4 years 7 months ago

It is difficult to get information about Brightwell so i am still a little bit sceptic towards them. But honestly I dont really cares about who owns Saab. I just want a potential owner to take care of the trademark and having a lot of capital to run the company. I hope that Saab can get a owner like this.

davidgmills
Member
4 years 7 months ago

It’s funny how the Europeans don’t seem to care about who owns Saab. I guess maybe they think they will be taken care of by the new owner regardless. But for the non-Europe crowd, who owns Saab makes a huge difference, because we think that most of these entities will not care about many of us and let many of us die on the vine.

ivo 71
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Don’t see the logic in this. If the buyer of Saab, whoever it will be, continues producing cars then they will also give a warranty and provide the owners with parts and service for them, in Europe, in America and wherever else they will (re-)establish a market presence. And haven’t you heard about Saab Parts having resumed parts deliveries for Saabs now running on the road? In America as well, I understand.

Ivo

Joe___
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Who else but Victor Muller has proven capable of negotiating successfully with GM?
1) When Spyker bought Saab from GM.
2) When finding a GM-passable legal setup with Youngman and Pang Da topped with enough Spyker ownership not to trigger change-of-power clauses? (before Lofalk and the Chinese went behind VM’s back and destroyed everything, annoying GM)
When it comes to negotiating, this man knows what he’s doing. I will follow the Brightwell trail more closely.

M.A.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

That could be the reason why Brightwell wants VM aboard, among other aspects. But what about the other bidders? Mahindra and the mysterious 4th bidder might have other cards as well when it comes dealing with GM.

Moody Saaber
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Stockhom News

The bankruptcy trustee of Saab Automobile Hans Bergqvist, confirms that several so called “indicative offers” have been presented to him. This confirmation comes after a couple of weeks of speculations in the media about interested parties in Chinese Youngman and Indian Mahindra. Also Swedish actors have been mentioned. However Hans Bergqvist does not want to reveal who have made the offers.

Indicative offers are not binding but seen as serious. Hans Bergqvist estimates that a buyer will be presented in “some weeks”. The idea is that this buyer will also take over the car production in Trollhättan.

SVT

Mats Öhlén

[email protected]

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Negotiating with GM? Maybe, but the negotiating from a couple years ago put GM in the drivers seat (no pun intended) now. Saab is now GM’s hostage. Regarding VM supporting BW Holdings: I’m assuming he’s a (well) paid consultant? Also—-one other thing—-I actually prefer a specific goal/specific timeline (even if it’s not met) as opposed to a vague projection. I’d rather hear a politician tell me what he or she wants to do, and when—-so that I have something to hold that person to if I vote for them. The one who talks in generalities doesn’t have any culpability.
davidgmills
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Saab was always GM’s hostage. Hell GM seller financed, three fourths of the sale purchase to Spyker. I am sure GM would have loved to have had a complete buy out, but no buyers emerged.

rune
Member
4 years 7 months ago
@davidgmills, Again… Sources for this? I remember there were many interested parties back in 2009. A few of us sensed even then that GM had an agenda. In the final round they narrowed it down to Renco, Merbanco and Koenigsegg (possibly one other?). Funny how Renco, the one we knew had the most cash on hand, was the first to go. Their ‘no Chinese’ requirement surely is not a new one. The ownership clauses embedded into various contracts were not put there by accident. GM had various other steep demands (concerning dealers e.g.) that certain parties found hard to cope… Read more »
davidgmills
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Come on. These really were not top buyers. It is not like any of these had run a major car manufacturing business and had lots of experience. Spyker and Koenigsegg had some car manufacturing business but it was for high end low volume cars. The rest had none. GM had put a billion dollars into purchasing Saab and it makes sense to me that if they were going to continue on with Saab they wanted the best experience they could get to try to get some of the investment back. We will never know what happened with Koenigsegg, but I… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Oh, GM knew exactly what they were doing. For once, they weren’t totally incompetent.

rune
Member
4 years 7 months ago
There were others interested prior to that point. GM picked these for a reason, and to me it looks as if GM wanted them to fail (you are basically arguing the same point, but reach a different conclusion at the end…). The only odd one out is Renco, because they (as I understand it) had plenty of funding, but then again: They reached the final but were turned down. It would have taken quite a bit of money to shut down Saab outright. Better then to find someone who, on paper, could make Saab work, but would most likely fail.… Read more »
saabboy1
Member
4 years 7 months ago

“Middle Eastern Oil Money” I’m in for that!! Don’t count out Turkey, I think this would be a good thing. They sound pretty serious and want to keep Saab as a whole. I think the bid should inclide a deal with GM. This is the problem, we must get a deal with the General!!

paddan
Member
4 years 7 months ago

A deal with GM? Good luck with that.

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 7 months ago

I wouldn’t even fully count that out. One of the funniest lines I found searching through Brightwell news was one that went something like “we are in contact with GM, of coarse we are not talking to their spokesperson, but other people in GM” made me think, just how big is James Cain? I’m sure he’s no decision maker, so maybe the door isn’t completely shut. Both Brightwell and Mahindra with their work in alternative fuels and different markets could have something to offer GM. But really who knows?

paddan
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Would be great if Brightwell could pull that off, will give you that!

A-RO 95
Member
4 years 7 months ago

I don’t think GM is going to be helpful to any deal. If Saab resurface it will mean more competition, especially in the European markets where Opel is once again the focus of GM’s problem solving!

http://www.freep.com/article/20120208/BUSINESS0101/202080348/GM-putting-new-team-in-charge-of-Europe-UAW-President-Bob-King-to-join-Opel-board

Daniel B
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Sure. Victor made some bad judgements while SWAN was in the ownership of SAAB. Yes, they should have had more money. BUT: If there is i potential buyer with Victor as an advisoring function, I´m all in. IF they can get agreement with GM I´m all in. Sure I´d love a 100% independent Saab from GM, but hey. A reborn Saab needs models to sell in order to have a life. Don´t forget that the 9-5 and 9-4X are fantastic vehicles. If BWH have sufficient funds to make Saab come back on its feet (and I thibk we are talking… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

More money won’t increase sales dramatically for the 9-4 and 9-5 but more money and development of a broader vehicle line—-that will move more Saabs. My concerns about this deal? Simply, I don’t think with GM involved, it will be a world wide brand anymore. They will stomp out the markets where they don’t want Saab/BW to sell cars. They will put ridiculous conditions on future operations. In short, they will be GM.

Daniel B
Member
4 years 7 months ago

More money will keep production and the company floating while sale are picking up. Main reason for having an owner with huge funds.

Daniel B
Member
4 years 7 months ago

But I agree on the GM conditions..

aslak
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Surprised to hear this statement. Brightwell isn’t a major company, its almost unheard of and they don’t have enough funds for such operation. Seems like they accept this and say they’ll find money from 2 sources. 1- Middle East Oil ! So what’s the connection with Turkey and Brightwell ? Turkey isn’t in middle east and doesn’t have a drop of oil resource. Does Brightwell or their oil company (what is it by the way ?) have interest in middle east oil or such ? Any proof ? Swedish or Norwegian companies probably have more exposure to Middle East oil… Read more »
Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago
I was thinking some of the same things you wrote. Something doesn’t sit well with me on this one. I don’t think BW is the best “new parent” in the room, not by a mile. Maybe this isn’t a fair analogy (and believe me when I say I am very appreciative for everything VM had done to keep Saab around—-without him, they’d have died a while ago): But here goes—-the receivers are like judges in a custody hearing, trying to decide where a child should go to live—-i.e. who should get to adopt them. Now, we’re hearing from the parent… Read more »
spacy
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

BUT, there was also the comments from the Administrators, how helpful VM had been to them, helping them to understand Saab…..enthusiasm
spreads.

tmra
Member
4 years 7 months ago
No offense but i should add; 1- BH is in the electricity business rather than oil, as far as i know. Turkey has about 100.000 barrels per day in oil production and process, EU alone has 2.000.000. Make a brief research about “Arab Spring”, if you dig out, you will see Turkey, that i think will sum up the Turkish relationship and power on Middle East. 2- Turkish Government stated that any kind of progress on national car brand “will be” supported in many ways. Just yesterday Minister of Industry and Trade has told that the support will be on… Read more »
aslak
Member
4 years 7 months ago

and ?

ivo 71
Member
4 years 7 months ago
I don’t think a co-operation beween Brightwell and VM is such a bad thing. VM was, as pointed out before, the only one who had a deal in place with GM until the ‘we want 100%’ cowboy action by Guy Lofalk and Youngman, after which GM slammed the door. If BH and VM could get GM to co-operate in the takeover by ceasing to be so intransigent regarding the NG 9-5 and the 9-4X then that would make the restart and continuation of Saab much less difficult. It may even get the 9-5 SC onto the road! Moreover, VM has… Read more »
Saabissimo
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Agreed. There is no reason at all to dismiss BW at this stage, whatever me may think of VM in positive or negative terms.

The key though is adequate funding. Another underfunded rescue mission is doomed to fail.

If there really is substantial funding behind their approach they should be taken as a serious contender. But there has to be enough funding commited from start by the principal financiers to reach break-even. Secondary financing rounds should not be part of a turnaround plan. Otherwise we are back to the familiar chasing money to survive merry-go-round.

hughw
Member
4 years 7 months ago

You’re right of course that there should be funding from the start on a turnaround plan. But my quess is that this is a secondary consideration for the receivers. Their mission is to obtain the maximum amount of money for the creditors now. Someone less well funded might be willing to put down more money upfront, and I would imagine that the receivers might have difficulty in justifying the selection of someone else.

saabserb
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Saving SAAB and putting it on first “break even” and later even profitable path will be very much question of trust in the new SAAB and the new owners. So, if the buyer doesn’t seem to have money, or have secret oil funds or whatever in that sense, the buyers will not queuing to buy SAAB cars not matter how good they are. Spicing that with Victor Muller (no matter how much I respect the man) will just not help that. Sorry VM but you are not a good reference for Brightwell. SAAB now needs, as we said many times… Read more »
Red J
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Currently VM is only advising BW during the bid phase, so no need too discredit BW only because of that. They also have people from Ford and JLR advising them.

saabserb
Member
4 years 7 months ago

I am not trying to discredit VM for anything. I am just saying what the picture could look like if Brightwell acquires SAAB. I can only imagine articles in the press. Also I don’t think the subcontractors would be very happy, they have already expressed their suspect. remember, they have already adapted to no-SAAB situation, and if the new owner doesn’t prove that it is reliable with payments, they will not jump to that train. And I will tell again: VM, even as a consultant, doesn’t help building that confidence.

Red J
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Firstly, I’m not talking about discrediting VM, but the Brightwell bid. Secondly, the CLEPA not liking BW has only been stated one time on a di-Article, and since now the sources from di.se are not always 100% reliable. And thirdly, nobody knows how much money BW has, it is too easy to start speculating about this. So all in all, to me, the BW bid is as good as the M&M bid or the bid from the unnamed company (I’m starting to have some doubts about the YM bid), and I don’t care much about the preferences of the press.… Read more »
aslak
Member
4 years 7 months ago

who are the F and JLR advisors & they advise about exactly what ?

Red J
Member
4 years 7 months ago

I don’t know them, I only know what Ahmed Zamier from BW has said to the Swedish press.

In response to all the doubting industry skeptics say Zamier that he hired a car group of 10 individuals with “people from, for example, Ford and Land Rover.” Those currently working in Sweden to prepare “a detailed bid,” said the financier to the newspaper.

saabo
Member
4 years 7 months ago

If that is true, I see that as a sign of them being serious. Interesting times to come…

mpprh
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Worth thinking about … Turkish new passenger car registrations in 2011 were around 600,000 ( including around 70% imports). Turkey manufactured 1.2m vehicles in 2011 (640,000 being cars). Currently, this represents assembly of non Turkish manufacturers products with some local export potential. The main players are Renault, Fiat, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota. Labour rates are low and local assembly optimises local costs and taxes. Prime Minister Erdogan’s new government intends to reduce import duties and move towards the establishment of a Turkish motor industry. They also intend to forge closer links with EU and ultimately become a full member. Hopefully… Read more »
theSandySaab
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Thanks, that is interesting stats…

Quijote
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Something just reeks foul with both Youngman and Brightwell. I’m not sure Victor Muller’s interaction in this negotiation is a good thing. Despite the positive assessment that most of us have about him, several high ranking individuals don’t share our view. Thereby, the entire “guilty by association” stereotype can actually hurt Brightwell. I’d like to see maximum effort put forth in finding a cooperation with Mahindra. I don’t know if I’m biased consideration the great things India based Tata has done with Jaguar and Land Rover, but they certainly seemed to be the best funded and most knowledgeable of all… Read more »
richard
Member
4 years 7 months ago

“…several high ranking individuals don’t share our view.”

Can you provide some links or proof of the differing views from these individuals?

Kikaluka
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Isn’t it time for the people that accused VM of fraud and stealing money from Saab a couple of months ago to step forward and appologize? If there would have been any illegal activities by VM, I’m pretty sure the receivers and potential buyers would have noticed that by now…

hans h
Member
4 years 7 months ago

+1

David-SAAB
Member
4 years 7 months ago

+9000

sandborg
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Mr. Muller was there for all of us when no one else was.
I believe he has SAAB’s interest uppermost in what he does.

wimemberme
Member
4 years 7 months ago

+1

Bravada from GMI
Member
4 years 7 months ago

VM was the person who got into the whole supplier mess by delaying payments and trying to circumvent their restrictions by using Saab Parts. It might have been his decision or any other executive’s, but I am sure he knew about it and accepted it, the course of past action only suggests that. That’s why suppliers have every right to be sceptical – regardless of whether the journalist who wrote that has facts to back up the claim.

Baver
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Baver
Member
4 years 7 months ago

BTW, from the Chicago Tribune
Twenty-five Saab dealers met with Saab Cars North America, a separate entity from the liquidated Swedish automaker, at last weekend’s NADA conference to discuss distributing Saab parts and selling the remaining 2,900 cars in dealer and Saab N.A. stock. Automotive News reports the dealers have appealed to GM to cover warranties on 2010 and 2011 models — GM only covers Saabs through 2009 — to no avail, and remaining cars are now selling for 35% to 50% off MSRP.

Angelo V.
Member
4 years 7 months ago

International Motors Saab in Falls Church, VA is selling them for 30% off sticker and they have found a warranty company to write extended warranties (additional charge of course). I don’t know what kind of stock they have left—-but on a $40,000 Saab, right off the bat, their discount takes it down to $28,000. Let’s say the extended warranty is around $1800.—–that means you get a really good car, with warranty, for under 30K.

SVX92
Member
4 years 7 months ago

So does this mean there’s another 900 SAABs sitting, depreciating and not in inventory?

xelav
Member
4 years 7 months ago

As long as Saab stays swedish i’ll keep driving them, but no offence, i’m not ever going to own a turkish car, nor a Chinese or russian.

3cyl
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Not socialistic enough?

David-SAAB
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Are you kidding me? Totally red necked comment! Not cool man, especially when the world is so small now. You wouldn’t even know where half of the things you purchase everyday comes from.

David-SAAB
Member
4 years 7 months ago

It would be like saying jaguar and land rover are not quintessential British cars. According every Brit I know they certainly are.

Yosef
Member
4 years 7 months ago

xelav
Don’t get me started with the list of Turkish handprints on any car you drive… Merc, BMW? Too bad, they also have overcrowded Turkish employees.

xelav
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Haha, nothing to do with politics or one ore the other religion, but it has more to do with the image of scandinavian products. Cool, not arrogant( like Mercedes), inovative, clean, and great design. Just that saabish feeling you get when you’re driving one. And i don’t get on à camel, or in à lada or maybe in a bejing gti mandarin. Just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

3cyl
Member
4 years 7 months ago

Maybe (or maybe not) a SAAB built elsewhere will be the best chance to get that “saabish feeling” if production doesn’t resume in Sweden. If production doesn’t resume in Sweden, will production elsewhere be true to SAAB engineering/design in a way that results in a car that feels like a SAAB to us?
This is what I am waiting to find out.

Yosef
Member
4 years 7 months ago
Better safe than sorry. I’m a Turk who owns two beautiful Saabs in a Scandinavian country and I’d be obviously more than glad to see that Saab being supported by my country. Because of country’s experience in car industry, I bet Saab would became a major competitor in 5 or 10 years again. But, Turkey is looking forward to build its own brand from scratch. Some Turks say “let’s save Saab and get experience” which is not a bad idea, and, trust me it wouldn’t be a “hit and run” thing since the country wants to reliable in this industry.… Read more »
wpDiscuz