Lars Carlström is a name that should bring a smile to face of any Saab fan when they hear it. He worked with several different parties over the course of around 12 months, trying to buy Saab Automobile from General Motors. The most prolific consortium, of course, was the Genii group, with Genii Capital and F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone. There were even rumours at one stage, in the Swedish press only, that Genii and Spyker were lodging a joint bid for Saab.
Di.se have published an interview with Carlström today. I know from my own occasional correspondence with him (quite infrequent now) that he’s still very interested in Saab’s progress. I think that interest should come through in this interview.
Thanks to a few people in comments for the link.
UPDATE: I received an email from DI.se Editor-In-Chief, Linus Paulsson, requesting that the full translation I provided be removed from Saabs United (along with any other DI.se copyright material).
I have reduced the provision in this article to two important excerpts only, and am awaiting their permission, which I’ve requested, to restore the full article. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops.
“Deal of the Century”
….In January a year ago it was the home stretch in negotiations for Saab Automobile’s future. …. Financier Lars Carlstrom, who represented the Genii Capital, with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone on board, saw the Dutch Spyker, with CEO Victor Muller, emerge victorious from the battle…..
…..”This is the business deal of the century as I see it. GM had invested about 50 billion in Saab, and sold the company for pennies.”
……Now, a year after Saab got a new owner – how would you describe the time of the decision in January last year?
“It was a very strange situation and I do not understand why GM put such pressure on the process. The only explanation I have is a lot of pressure from the U.S. government.”
But GM still chose to reopen the closure decision to sell the site – why?
“For GM’s part would have been a better deal to the liquidation of Saab. Then you have no risk of preference shares, there was cash in the bank and so one might have sold off assets. But the attention around the company was enormous, not only in Sweden but also in the United States. “
That last part is particularly interesting – the interest around the sale of Saab.
Of course, there was a whole slew of news stories around the world about Saab Support Convoys being held in support of the company. That kept things in the news.
There were other news stories, too, such as the story broken here on SU about GM plans to ship 9-5 tooling to China (a story for which GM execs had to provide an answer at the Detroit Auto Show).
But Carlstrom had a massive part to play in this attention, too. There was no way that GM could get away with saying that interest in Saab wasn’t significant enough when there was more than one party interested in buying it, and especially if one of the members of that extra party is someone of the profile of Bernie Ecclestone.
This is a great piece for Saab and it’s very encouraging to see DI.se publish it.