I’m getting quite antsy about the way Reuters is reporting the progress on the Saab deal. Earlier this week I had to post a correction to a misrepresented story from Reuters on BAIC carving Saab up into a whole bunch of little pieces.
Today, they’ve once again managed to take one story, add a sprinkling of it to another story and make 2 + 2 equal whatevertheyfreakingwellwant. What’s worse is that others are reading it and doing the same.
So what happened?
Yesterday morning in Sweden (well, it’s yesterday for me), Joran Hagglund came out and urged GM to make a decision this week on a preferred Saab bidder. He made this statement because of all the work that’s involved in reviewing the bidder and ensuring that the sale can go through.
Reuters have taken this story and seem to have implied that there’s a new deadline for the Saab sale. There’s no new deadline. GM will make a decision by December 31st. That’s the only deadline in play and Spyker etc are all well aware of it. Hagglund’s comment was an advisory one only, it was not any sort of new deadline.
Still, in light of Hagglund’s comment, Reuters went ahead and contacted Spyker and asked how things are going:
“They’re not aware of any deadline,” the Spyker spokesman said Thursday, adding that the company’s interest was unchanged.
Saab also said there was no deadline, but that all sides would need to move quickly to make a deal this year.
So now Reuters claim that Saab are wandering around, blissfully unaware of a deadline for the sale? Seriously?! Methinks they might have omitted the word ‘changed’ somewhere in there. Maybe it was in the question, but not mentioned in the very quotable answers?
Reuters were happy enough with the answers they received to post them in the headline:
And of course, where Reuters go, others are willing to follow. Here’s Jonny ‘key-between-the-seats’ Lieberman at Autoblog:
The catch is that if GM and the prospective buyer can’t get the deal done by 2010, General Motors is just going to wash its hands of the perennial money loser and shut Saab down and sell off its assets. However, if the talks are going well but no deal has been reached by January, GM might consider funding Saab a little longer. Maybe. For their part, Spyker seems unaware of any looming deadline, though perhaps they should be.
Are they asking the right people? Are they asking the right questions? Are they reporting all of it accurately?
For what it’s worth, I can tell you that I’ve had contact with Victor Muller from Spyker already. I made contact with him on December 4, a couple of days after Spyker announced their interest in Saab. I’ve not written about that contact here because right now there is nothing to tell. He is not in a position to provide an interview on the site as Spyker are subject to non-disclosure agreements and….well….. I guess you could say he’s pretty busy right now.
But I can assure you from the brief exchange we’ve had that he’s acutely aware of the timeline here:
The deadline GM set is no loose threat. It is for real.
Reuters should lift their game.