Just come online from the Wall Street Journal, with thanks to Zippy…
Saab unexpectedly emerged as a leading topic for the board early last week after Koenigsegg Group AB ditched its plan to buy the unit from GM. GM officials were informed of the decision last Monday.
Executives running Saab have since been talking to a handful of parties interested in replacing Koenigsegg, a Swedish sports-car maker, and have received at least one proposal from a buyer.
These potential Saab investors include Beijing Auto Industry Corp. of China; Wyoming-based Merbanco LLC, founded by merchant banker Christopher Johnston; and investor Ira Rennert’s Renco Inc. Beijing Auto had agreed to invest in Koenigsegg as part of its aborted Saab purchase.
But GM’s Mr. Henderson currently believes that keeping Saab alive–eitherby approving a new buyer or having GM maintain ownership–is an unlikely outcome, given that a new investor will likely need several months and hundreds of millions of dollars in capital to close a deal, said people familiar with his thinking. The Koenigsegg plan, devised over the summer, was predicated on a €400 million, or roughly $600 million, loan from the European Investment Bank that was backed by the Swedish government.
Saab Managing Director Jan Ake Jonsson and officials from the Swedish government traveled to Detroit on Monday to discuss Saab’s future with the board. Mr. Jonsson was expected to tell the board that Saab can reach profitability as early as 2011 by more than doubling sales, while Swedish officials could tell GM that the nation is open to providing loan guarantees to a new buyer.
Mr. Jonsson is expected to highlight Saab’s product plan, which is robust compared with the relatively bare portfolio in recent years. Two redesigned sedans and a new crossover vehicle are in the pipeline.
It seems to be coming down to those two most important of things: money and time. Koenigsegg Group had the EIB loan as a pre-condition for the deal, but it’s unknown if that same pre-condition would be insisted on by others.
GM need a deal that they can feel assured won’t fall over, and one that will get done quickly.
Money and time. Let’s hope that these potential buyers are backed by sufficient amounts of the former, and are short on the latter.
More than that, here’s hoping that GM give them full consideration.
Cowboy up, Fritz!!!