The Saab-Koenigsegg deal – my final 2 cents…..

The deal for Koenigsegg to take over Saab has been officially announced. Sort of. There’s still a whole bunch of due diligence left to go, government approvals, loans, etc. I’m feeling quite confident that things will proceed as expected and that the deal can be done on schedule, later this year.
And the crowd has cheered!!!
Comments filled up fast after the announcement and many Swedes are walking around today with smiles on their faces. Their favourite little car company has just joined forces with one of the coolest supercar manufacturers on the planet.
I’m cheering too. I know I’ve been a little downbeat about this in the last few days and I’m going to express my final cautious thoughts in a moment. But the satisfaction of knowing that Saab has a future – and I believe they do – when many thought that no-one would be interested, is a very nice sort of satisfaction to have.

I’d like to express my gratitude to both Merbanco and Renco (yes, them too) for their interest in Saab. I know Renco’s had a rough deal around here but their interest in Saab was important. It raised the bar.
We all saw the quality of the Merbanco interest in Saab in the interview I did with Merbanco’s CEO, Christopher Johnston, the other day. If Koenigsegg hadn’t proposed whatever they did to clinch the deal, I would sit here feeling very very comfortable with the idea of CJ and his crew at the helm.

I’d also like to express my gratitude – as a Saab enthusiast – to Jan-Ake Jonsson, Guy Lofalk and the reconstruction team, and all of the PR staff at Saab.
One of Saab’s PR people commented last week that he’s learned more about corporate PR in the last 3 months than what he had in the previous 3 years. Such was the pressure, the constant changing situation and the need for accurate information.
All of these people have done an incredible job. I write about this company everyday so I see and hear a lot of things and I can honestly say there wasn’t a single day when I didn’t feel like we were going to have a positive outcome from this process.
That’s down to Jan-Ake Jonsson’s incredible leadership and the PR team’s great communication.
You lads and ladies are a credit to the company!

I really believe that the future can be incredibly exciting for Saab.
The technological and design crossovers that can occur between Koenigsegg and Saab in the medium to long term raise some incredible possibilities. We who have had to be patient under GM’s ownership should really have some exciting prospects coming in the future.
I still have my reservations, though, and they come down to the people inside of, and the people backing the Koenigsegg Group.
When you buy a house, the deal is usually contingent on two primary elements: the price you’re willing to pay and the conditions you’re willing to provide. If two purchasers are offering the same price and one offers more attractive terms (shorter settlement, no sale of their existing home, etc) then that person will usually win the prize.
It’s my fear that Koenigsegg won this bid with conditions that place them – and Saab – at some risk. Whether it be the price they paid or the conditions they offered, I’m just worried that they’re stretching themselves thin.
Prior to them being chosen, all objective analyses pointed to them most likely being the bidder with the least experience and resources. That’s the reason for my fear.
They’ve been chosen now, so we have no choice but to have faith in the process, and belief in the words of a straight-up guy like IF Metall’s Paul Akerlund, who’s given his opinion stating that there’s sufficient financial muscle behind this deal.
My other concern is with experience.
It’s my sincere hope that Koenigsegg retain all of the key players at Saab and recruit the right key players where they don’t already exist.
A wise person, one who’s in the know about such things, recently told me the following: A weak buyer with no experience is the worst. A very strong buyer can buy the experience. A weak buyer with great experience can attract capital.
It all makes sense. I hope Koenigsegg are wise enough to identify and fill any gaps that exist with good, Swedish heads.

With those reservations aside……..
Yowza, baby!!!!!!!!

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