About Saab’s bidders: Merbanco – from comments

The internet has made the world an astoundingly small place, hasn’t it?
Providing you can trust everything you read (which you should be able to from the Securities Exchange Commission), we have these interesting details that readers have dug up and placed in comments.
This gives us a good background as to who some of the people associated with Merbanco are.
UPDATE: from Henry Strupe (Djup Strupe’s american brother)
What we’ve dug up here is useful as a sketch, but that’s pretty much all it is. An outline. The substance to this lies in the people behind the scenes, for which Merbanco is acting as a front office.
His words:

Merbanco is nothing but a playform to source. Deals are always in an entity created for the specific deal.
Merbanco is a mule.

So whilst what we know is valuable and reassuring, it’s also incomplete.
Christopher A. Johnston has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Merbanco, Inc. (“Merbanco”), a merchant banking company, since 1991 (see “CERTAIN FMP TRANSACTIONS”), and President and Chief Executive Officer and director of FMP since its organization in 1996. He also served as President of Republic Realty Mortgage Co. from 1992 to 1995. He is a citizen of the United States and his principal occupation and employment is as President of Merbanco, Incorporated. He is a director and President of Acquisition Corp. Christopher A. Johnston is the son of Richard P. Johnston and brother of David E. Johnston.
Richard P. Johnston has been Chairman of the Board of Merbanco since 1991 (see “CERTAIN FMP TRANSACTIONS”), served as Chairman of the Board of Republic Realty Mortgage Co., a commercial mortgage company, from 1992 to 1995, was Managing Director of Hamilton Robinson & Co., an investment advisory company, from 1991 to 1994, and has been Chairman of the Board and director of FMP since its organization in 1996. Mr. Johnston is a founder and a director of AGCO Corporation (AG: NYSE), a farm implement manufacturer and distributor, a director of Myers Industries, Inc. (MYE: AMEX) a plastic and rubber products manufacturer, a director of Results Radio LLC, a radio broadcasting company, and Hotels Online.com, an internet service provider for hotels. Richard P. Johnston is the father of Christopher A. Johnston and David E. Johnston.
The SEC information says that Richard Johnston is a co-founder and director of AGCO. This doesn’t appear to be current. More recent information also in comments indicates as follows:

Mr. Richard P. Johnston serves as Director of Myers since 1992. He Currently a private equity investor; Chairman of the Board of Royal Associates, a holding company based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Director of Results Radio, Inc., Sonoma, California; formerly served as Founder and Director of AGCO, Inc. (NYSE), Duluth, Georgia, a manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment.

David E. Johnstoninformation removed as it doesn’t seem relevant to proceedings here.
As mentioned in comments, the AGCO connection, although no longer current, is a significant one. AGCO are a huge, global company involved in the manufacture and distribution of agricultural equipment and it appears that one of the Merbanco players was part of the formation of this company.
From their website:

AGCO is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of agricultural equipment. Our brands are sold in more than 140 countries and are led by these four core global brands:

  • Massey Ferguson
  • Valtra
  • Challenger
  • Fendt

Technical diversity, multiple brands, and global distribution strength are the keys to AGCO’s growth strategy. Major market share positions in key agricultural markets of the world have been achieved by our strong focus on customer service, leading edge technology and an independent dealer network of more than 3,000 full service dealers – the largest distribution network in the industry.
AGCO’s innovative products continuously receive recognition and awards at international exhibitions, but our most coveted award is the recognition of our wide-range of products by farmers and dealers across the globe.

Remember that Merbanco appears to be a merchant banking operation and from these descriptions it seems that father (Richard) and son (Christopher) are involved in Merbanco.
It’s likely not just them, however, with clients or contacts in the background that are part of the deal.
The good news is that this background involves

  • plenty of experience
  • global experience
  • financial experience
  • manufacturing experience
  • long-term development of a significant manufacturing company

…..and there’s no bitter aftertaste.
If this is what it appears to be then I think we’ve found a buyer for Saab just about anyone can support.
I hope they go well. Very well.

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