Before I post the translation of this TTELA article, let me share with you an email that I received from Djup Strupe. I received this about 45 minutes before I first heard that Saab would be shut down.
Just got back from an all-people meeting with ……. and according to him is the agreement between Spyker and GM more or less complete and ready to be signed today. Apparently Spyker met with the GM lawyers last night and worked thru the contracts, and GM was supposedly very nice about it. They’re just waiting for the EIB loans to be approved to finish the deal. I suspect that’s an exaggeration and there’s a lot more to be done, but that’s what he told us.
That was just 45 mintutes or so before the announcement was made. Unbelievable.
And seemingly confirmed by this story at TTELA, posted in comments by Börjesson:
Deal with GM only hours away
TROLLHÄTTAN: A deal with Spyker Cars was only hours away when GM suddenly pulled the handbrake. The day after, everyone is asking the same question: Why?
GM’s decision to close down Saab was incredibly dramatic when it arrived on Friday afternoon. And the picture that is now being painted about how it happened further increases the drama.
According to information to TTELA, a deal between GM and Spyker was only hours away when GM suddenly called the whole thing off. This view is confirmed this Saturday afternoon by Saab’s Information Manager, Eric Geers.
– We were on our way up to Stockholm to sign the contracts. Then something happened. But what? No idea, he says.
Saab’s Chief Legal Counsel Kristina Geers was on the plane at Landvetter Airport, carrying the prepared contracts, when she suddenly received notice that the whole thing was called off.
A few hours earlier, Saab boss Jan Åke Jonsson had on the phone recieved the dramatic and unexpected fatal notice from GM. In the morning, there was then a meeting where GM announced that they didn’t intend to continue the process.
According to Eric Geers, Saab were not the only ones to be surprised.
– This came as a huge surprise to Victor Muller (Spyker’s CEO) as well, Geers says. Victor Muller was on location in Stockholm, also in the belief that he would sign the contracts.
– We were well on our way, and I have to give credit to Spyker Cars. They have shown enormous commitment in this matter.
Saab had hoped to announce the deal as an early Christmas gift to their employees next week.
Unconfirmed information also claims that a decision by the European Investment Bank, EIB, on Saab’s loan application wasn’t far off. The conditions were thus in place for a signed declaration of intent to soon be followed by a binding agreement.
And after Saab’s deal with Beijing Automotive earlier this week, there was money on hand which enabled the deadline to be extended. If GM had had the will.
No official explanation for why GM now stopped the deal has yet been given. A rumour says that it was Spyker’s major owner, the banker Vladimir Antonov, that gave GM cold feet. But one could argue that this explanation is flawed.
Antonov’s role in Spyker is known. If that was a problem, GM and Deutsche Bank could have rejected Spyker much earlier.
Another theory is that the new GM management wanted to show decisiveness.
That would then mean that GM had already decided to close Saab – that the last weeks were just playacting.