An answer for us – who makes the decision on bidders for Saab?

Yesterday I asked the question: who makes the decision on bidders for Saab?
I received an answer via email from a reader who’s had some experience in this sector.
His reply was as follows:
I don’t know the local political landscape but standard fare is that the recommendation is made by the investment banker but the decision is for the owner, be it GM in Europe or US.
Seems there are many of moving pieces (more than normal) here with the restructuring court, the government(s), the bailout, ongoing relations with GM, and the owner. All have a say for a “no” from any could make this foggy.
I hope the management team have a strong voice in this for they are the only people who will be there the day after with the new owner. Aside from running the place, management is the keeper of the culture – and it is easy to work harder for people you like. Using GM as an example, a incompatible owner can fatigue the brand and the staff.
I have actually seen two models in action: one where management is charged with finding a buyer, the other being the “institutional” model where the owner must retain control. For Saab with the challenges they have, I favor the management model. Given the news reports, I can’t imagine GM will get much for this.
Here is what the various groups might want:

  • GM – as much as it can get as soon as it can get it, and as few as possible post closing liabilities or complexities as possible.
  • Deutsche Bank – Their fee.
  • Restructuring – a plan that really makes sense and a committed buyer.
  • Sweden – A buyer who passes the political test. Yesterdays offering (i.e. Renco) will be a problem here. These folks will reject any blemishes that will taint them.
  • US – They want this gone as soon as possible.
  • Management (including unions)- someone who understands the brand, is supportive and committed, and can help lift the dark cloud.

Saab needs sales and over here the buyer is the college professor type (amongst others). They are, generally speaking, conscientious customers. They will support a “good” owner and will shun a “bad” owner. How deep the pockets are doesn’t matter if the “pockets are sewn shut”. Make no mistake, with the internet, people are making more informed decisions. This has helped the “zen” brands and hurt GM, Chrysler.
Think about it, Ford is trying to become a Zen brand.

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