It’s Renco vs Fiat for ownership of Saab – maybe

Some time soon, Saab will announce who their new owner is.
In the past on this site, I’ve made very-well-educated guesses as to who’s who in this drama and if the final three aren’t who I’ve proposed, I’m still promising that nudie run outside GT.se’s offices (as long as their writer, Jan-Erik Berggren, promises the same if he’s wrong).
I’m making not-so-well-educated guesses in this post, but I still feel very confident in my predictions.
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FIAT
If FIAT are still in the game – and Maud Olofsson’s saying they are – then it’s because someone is happy to circumvent the proper process and let them through the back door.
Let me reiterate again – FIAT were not one of the original bidders and are not one of the official final three. But that doesn’t seem to mean that the door is shut to them.
And nor should it be, IMHO.
I was opposed – and still am – to the idea of Saab being brought into a huge conglomerate with Opel still in the fold. They’ve been there with GM and they don’t need to go there again.
But it looks like FIAT are going to miss out on Opel. And that opens a door for Fiat and Saab in my mind. There are a number of people at Saab that I’ve spoken with in the last few weeks – and a number of Swedes outside of Saab – who are in favour of a takeover by Opel FIAT.
The Italians and the Swedes seem to work well together, for starters, and Saab seem to feel that they’ve got something substantial to contribute to Fiat.
Perhaps Fiat leaves a better taste in the political mouths of the Swedes, too, which brings us to….
Renco
It’s been all quiet on the Renco front. But I have a feeling that the PR crew at Saab are working overtime trying to figure out how they’re going to sell Renco to the general public.
I’ll go on the record here and now. Out of the three official bidders that I believe are in the running for Saab – Renco, Koenigsegg and BAIC – I think Renco is the most likely to win the day.
I’ve heard rumours that Ira Rennert may have lost a truckload of cash when Wall St rogue Bernie Madoff went under, but he’s still well connected and said to have a personal wealth of as much as $6 billion.
He’s well connected, should be well funded, and familiar with the suits at GM. What he wants with Saab is unknown, but according to Saab all three bidders have seen Saab’s business plan, have committed to it and have proven they’ve got the funding to carry out what they’ve committed to.
Some have wondered whether Renco are really involved given that the Greens in Sweden reviewed the contenders and gave their thumbs up. Folks – it says more about politicians and marketing than anyone else and no-one should be surprised by a politician making the best of a photo opportunity.
I’ll place my bet on Renco winning the prize. I may not like it, but I think that’s the way things will go.
We’ll see in a few weeks, I guess.
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The others.
I get the increasing feeling that whilst they’re probably the most cashed up of the lot, the Chinese bidders are out of this race. Whether it’s reluctance on their part after seeing an opportunity for a bigger fish in Opel, or reluctance on the part of GM or the Swedish government, or both, I think they’re out of this race.
Whispers are coming down the lines that Koenigsegg weren’t as well funded as the others, which may be a big obstacle.
You’ve all seen the Saab marketing posters where they mention a 9-4x and a 9-5 and maybe a smaller Saab coming down the line….. I think that the bidders who could see the value in planning for a smaller Saab and made some inclusion of this in their plans for Saab were probably better received than others.
Just my 0.02c
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Le Figaro are claiming that Fiat are one of “the three.”
GT.se now say that Ripplewood, who were until recently a bidder for Opel via their spinoff company, RHJ, are one of “the three” and the likely winner.
Both incorrect. Nudie runs.

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