Waiting for news to come is never easy. I spend my evening on the couch, browsing the web for info and watching TV. Tonight I saw a documentary about the Titanic. It was not just about how it happened (have seen that more often than I ever wanted), they went to a simulator to research what happened in that fatal night and adapted various parameters to find out how hitting the iceberg could have been avoided. Of course I could not help but draw parallels to what Pang Da, Youngman and Saab/SWAN are doing at the moment. Luckily their ship did not sink when it hit the Detroit iceberg but it took a serious hit.
Rachel Pang of Youngman shows fighting spirit and confirms that they are still very interested in being a part of Saab’s survival plan (Reuters):
Youngman director Rachel Pang said on Wednesday the company will do “everything they can” to support Saab’s survival. She told Swedish news agency TT Youngman still wants to buy Saab.
“Of course we do. If you are afraid you cannot succeed in business. There are always difficulties. One has to find solutions, not just give up,” she was quoted by TT as saying.
Pang declined to answer if Youngman would consider becoming a minority owner in Saab, owned by Swedish Automobile.
I would have loved to get an answer to the question in the last paragraph. I suspect Youngmen to be the biggest problem for GM. They were pretty crisp when it came to pushing the original deal aside and demanded to take over 100%. GM’s refusal to accept this deal may set them back to their original share of 29.9%. They may even have to make further concessions. How far are they willing to go for the sake of the deal? And how much are they still willing to invest if they can’t obtain 100%?
WSJ cites Saab, namely Gunilla Gustavs, who also confirms talks:
Saab Automobile AB said Wednesday that it is discussing a new ownership structure with its Chinese investors, trying to save plans of selling the cash-starved company after former owner General Motors Co. objected to the deal.
“The purpose of these discussions is to find an ownership structure that everyone can agree on,” said Saab Automobile spokesperson Gunilla Gustavs, noting that the proposed 100% Chinese ownership “was an issue for GM.” Ms. Gustavs didn’t provide further details of the discussions.
So while Rachel Pang did not want to talk about the possibility of becoming a minor shareholder, Gunilla Gustavs confirms that an important issue right now is the ownership structure. This is something that raises the question which percentage for a certain owner would be acceptable for GM. I don’t want to speculate on this too much. But what I definetely read into it is that a future ownership structure there has to be a third partner in addition to Pang Da and Youngman – or SWAN needs to remain as a parent company.
Our old mate Swade has a cite on InsideSaab that looks like a piece from an internal statement:
Since GM’s statement on Monday night, we continue to work with Youngman and Pang Da to prepare to respond to GM’s questions on the proposed sale transaction of Saab Automobile AB to Pang Da and Youngman.
The Saab management team is preparing an in-depth communication package that clarifies the new business plan and the intentions for the future. The purpose is to present this to GM and clarify the intentions with the operations in China, thus seeking GM’s consent for the transaction through discussion and negotiations.
While this one talks about work on the sale of Saab to Pang Da and Youngman I tend to concur with Swade, who wrote that the actions Saab takes “include, but are not limited to” this.
Looking at the Swedish media I found something that seems to be from the same the interview with Rachel Pang that Reuters cited, here published by Sverigesradio:
The reorganization plan says that Chinese companies will pay 50 million euros, 450 million SKr. The entire amount has not yet paid, but according to Dagens Industri, was 50 million SKr into Saab’s account on Tuesday.
Are you going to pay 50 million?
– Yes, both Youngman and Pang Da working on it.
– I am in a hurry. I can not talk more. I’ll be on a conference call.
While the last answer sounds a bit like comedy we may have to admit that she surely has quite a few conference calls these days. But if we take the Dagens Industri quote here for real and new money arrived this would show that there is still serious interst.