I’m not getting into a spin about news reports overnight that Geely have “submitted a bid” for Saab. This is being reported as if it’s a big thing, which I don’t believe it is.
The Wall Street Journal seems to have the big scoop here:
Geely is one of “three to four” serious bidders for Saab and appears to be the only bidder from China, one of the people familiar with the situation said. He said a second Chinese auto maker considered bidding but didn’t follow through with an offer. Details of Geely’s bid for Saab couldn’t be determined. Geely Spokesman Wang Ziliang declined to comment.
We have always been pretty sure that Geely were one of the parties interested in Saab. They visited Trollhattan for a look around and at that time, I’m sure they would have signalled their intentions to some degree.
My understanding of the process is that from the 27 initial groups who signalled interest in Saab, 10-12 were asked to bring some more thoughts to the table. These are the parties who got a tour around the campus, and I believe it’s this stage of the process that the WSJ is reporting on today – merely that Geely were one of those groups.
As I understand things, it is now the job of GM, Saab and Deutsche Bank to select between one and three of these “bidders” to take things even further with.
To put it in Costanza-speak: Geely got a date, but they weren’t asked in “for coffee”.
Perhaps all the people who got dates were asked to submit a price they’re willing to pay for coffee, though I’m not sure what sort of picture that paints of Saab. Maybe some have backed out at that stage and some have submitted offers, making them the sort of “bidder” that the WSJ is referring to here. Just a guess.
Maybe I’m not getting tense, but I should be?
I think Reuters have things written a little more accurately:
NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) – General Motors Corp is running due diligence on about 10 bidders for Saab, after the first round of bids for the Swedish brand attracted Chinese automakers, European investor groups and private equity firms, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Saab auction process is being run independently of GM’s efforts to sell other European assets including Opel, the source said.
That Geely is possibly one of these bidders doesn’t mean they’re one of the final few who will really get a good talking to.