The Koenigsegg Group

Following yesterday’s news about the recent formation of the Koenigsegg Group (or, should I say, the application for this), there’s been some fruitful digging through the bowels of the internet to produce some background on the various players involved.
A lot of the hard yards have been made by Karen and she’s left a few links in comments, which I’ve followed up further.
The purpose of the exercise is to get a better grip on exactly who it is that’s using Koenigsegg’s enthusiast-friendly nameplate to purchase Saab.
The good news is that I think these people are going to go all out to make Saab profitable, because my initial impression is that not all of them are going in to this deal to stay as owners of Saab beyond around 5 years.
The not-so-good news is that IF this research is right (and I’m emphasising the IF for a reason), then at least one of these people is someone whose past associations could be characterised as ‘dubious’. Not Renco-level dubious, but it does make me wonder if he’ll stick around. As long as his money’s good, I guess.
Christian Von Koenigsegg’s first ever company, called Aalpraz and formed back in 1992, will be the largest single shareholder, with a 42.5% stake in the new group.
Koenigsegg Automotive will also be a shareholder, with 23.5% of the new group. Incidentally, that makes Volvo a part owner, too, as Volvo hold a small number of shares in Koenigsegg that were given to them as payment for use of a wind tunnel. It’s a slight worry that they had to barter in this fashion, but maybe that’s just me.
These two ownership shares indicate that the man with the automotive brains in this group – Christian Von Koenigsegg – is going to have plenty at stake. To a large extent, his life’s work and family name is going to depend on making Saab successful. That’s a good motivator if you ask me.
Koenigsegg Automotive is 49% owned by Bard Eker’s Eker Group so the Norwegian has an ownership stake that way already. In addition, however, the Eker Group will also have a direct share of the new group in the order of around 12%.
I like Bard Eker and his way of thinking. I like him a lot. Maybe this stake is why he’s had to sell his ownership interests elsewhere in recent times. That would seem to indicate that he’s going to have a lot at stake here as well.
The final shareholder – with a 22% holding in the Koenigsegg Group – is the one we didn’t know much about: Mark Bishop. Karen’s done some great digging and we think we’ve found our man. We knew his name and previous mail coming in to me indicated that he was based in California. He was hard to find, but I’m quite sure Karen’s on the money here.
The Mark Bishop we’ve found does most of his business in the real estate world. He was previously a VP with a Wall Street firm of questionable repute called Drexel Burnham Lambert. They were junk bond kings in the 1980s and declared bankruptcy in 1990. That doesn’t mean he had anything to do with that, of course, and Drexel alumni include people like the late Steve Fossett and execs now with Goldman Sachs and Cerberus (who just nose-dived Chrysler into bankruptcy and FIAT’s open arms).
Further digging indicates links to sub-prime mortgages (never a good phrase in these economic times) and mortgage pool investments. The most recent info, which Karen dug up, is an investment scheme aiming to buy troubled assets. From there I found associations with companies called Liquiddium and ABS Investment Group, both of which look into buying distressed properties with a view to realising gains as the properties come back to their real values.
This would be a troubling record for me. In short, he sounds like one of the Wall St types that we should be kinda mad at for all this financial crisis stuff we’re stuck in right now. Making money on sub-prime on the one hand and making money when the sub-prime mortgage holder has to sell on the other. It’s probably great business sense, but unpalatable to me, personally.
I’ve tried to contact Liquiddium, but the emails bounced. Let’s hope his cheques are better.
NOTE: All of this is contingent on whether or not we have indeed found the right Mark Bishop. The name is right, as is the location and the background.
This one walks, talks and looks like a duck, but we could still be wrong.

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