This afternoon I had the incredible privelege of being present for the final document signing for the sale of Saab Automobile, from General Motors to Spyker Cars.
Here’s some of what I saw….
This is some of the whiteboard that appeared at the front of the room. It lists the various tasks that had to be completed today.
It’s a little surreal because although some of those tasks occupy a small space on a whiteboard, they’re actually quite huge. Saab were still in liquidation at the beginning of today, for example.
There are a number of formal steps that have to be completed for Saab to exit liquidation – and here’s an example of how fine these things can be cut – they actually had a deadline to complete one of those steps today and met it with just 2 minutes to spare. If document transfers (or whatever it was that caused the delay) were just 2 minutes later, it’s quite likely that the closing would have been delayed.
And by the way, the removal of the liquidators means that as of around 2pm today, Jan-Ake Jonsson was back in charge of Saab’s management. I had a good chat with him about it and the joy he felt at the way things have happened was palpable (in that reserved Swedish kind of way).
Here’s the room as it was set up when I arrived.
Here you have representatives from the multiple law firms, accounting offices, companies, etc all in one place. There wasn’t really anything left to negotiate but there was an awful amount of technical detail that had to be documented and covered off in the contracts.
Below you see the critical moment – when the shares in Saab Automobile were exchanged between General Motors and Spyker Cars. This was IT. There was a round of applause through the whole room. The GM people were incredibly happy to have completed this deal successfully.
I can honestly tell you that the spirit in the room – from every participant today – was just fantastic. I spoke with GM executives, people from Deutsche Bank and even the National Debt Office and they were all incredibly happy to see this deal completed successfully.
Jan-Ake and Victor just after the share exchange…. note the contracts on the table in front. This is just a minor part of the incredible pile of contracts that had to be signed by various parties today.
A representative from the NDO signs off on some documentation along with Saab’s chief legal counsel, Kristina Geers.
Of course, after all was said, signed and done, there was the obligatory champagne toast.
The preparations are made….
And finally, the toast itself.
Victor Muller made a short speech at this time, but it was quite impromptu and I only caught the last half of it on video.
And after that, the final agenda item is completed 🙂
All this took place at the offices of GM’s lawyers here in Sweden.
Since then we’ve moved on to Saab’s lawyers’ offices just down the street. JAJ and Victor Muller have done the small press conference for the Swedish Media and as I write this, I think they’re doing a dealer call to start the process of informing the company as to what has transpired.
I’ll post some more notes and observations later on. But it’s been a fantastic day and one well worth celebrating.
Saab is Saab again. This is going to be an incredible journey.