It’s Renco vs Fiat for ownership of Saab – maybe

Some time soon, Saab will announce who their new owner is.
In the past on this site, I’ve made very-well-educated guesses as to who’s who in this drama and if the final three aren’t who I’ve proposed, I’m still promising that nudie run outside’s offices (as long as their writer, Jan-Erik Berggren, promises the same if he’s wrong).
I’m making not-so-well-educated guesses in this post, but I still feel very confident in my predictions.
If FIAT are still in the game – and Maud Olofsson’s saying they are – then it’s because someone is happy to circumvent the proper process and let them through the back door.
Let me reiterate again – FIAT were not one of the original bidders and are not one of the official final three. But that doesn’t seem to mean that the door is shut to them.
And nor should it be, IMHO.
I was opposed – and still am – to the idea of Saab being brought into a huge conglomerate with Opel still in the fold. They’ve been there with GM and they don’t need to go there again.
But it looks like FIAT are going to miss out on Opel. And that opens a door for Fiat and Saab in my mind. There are a number of people at Saab that I’ve spoken with in the last few weeks – and a number of Swedes outside of Saab – who are in favour of a takeover by Opel FIAT.
The Italians and the Swedes seem to work well together, for starters, and Saab seem to feel that they’ve got something substantial to contribute to Fiat.
Perhaps Fiat leaves a better taste in the political mouths of the Swedes, too, which brings us to….
It’s been all quiet on the Renco front. But I have a feeling that the PR crew at Saab are working overtime trying to figure out how they’re going to sell Renco to the general public.
I’ll go on the record here and now. Out of the three official bidders that I believe are in the running for Saab – Renco, Koenigsegg and BAIC – I think Renco is the most likely to win the day.
I’ve heard rumours that Ira Rennert may have lost a truckload of cash when Wall St rogue Bernie Madoff went under, but he’s still well connected and said to have a personal wealth of as much as $6 billion.
He’s well connected, should be well funded, and familiar with the suits at GM. What he wants with Saab is unknown, but according to Saab all three bidders have seen Saab’s business plan, have committed to it and have proven they’ve got the funding to carry out what they’ve committed to.
Some have wondered whether Renco are really involved given that the Greens in Sweden reviewed the contenders and gave their thumbs up. Folks – it says more about politicians and marketing than anyone else and no-one should be surprised by a politician making the best of a photo opportunity.
I’ll place my bet on Renco winning the prize. I may not like it, but I think that’s the way things will go.
We’ll see in a few weeks, I guess.
The others.
I get the increasing feeling that whilst they’re probably the most cashed up of the lot, the Chinese bidders are out of this race. Whether it’s reluctance on their part after seeing an opportunity for a bigger fish in Opel, or reluctance on the part of GM or the Swedish government, or both, I think they’re out of this race.
Whispers are coming down the lines that Koenigsegg weren’t as well funded as the others, which may be a big obstacle.
You’ve all seen the Saab marketing posters where they mention a 9-4x and a 9-5 and maybe a smaller Saab coming down the line….. I think that the bidders who could see the value in planning for a smaller Saab and made some inclusion of this in their plans for Saab were probably better received than others.
Just my 0.02c
Le Figaro are claiming that Fiat are one of “the three.” now say that Ripplewood, who were until recently a bidder for Opel via their spinoff company, RHJ, are one of “the three” and the likely winner.
Both incorrect. Nudie runs.

Summary: the emergence of BAIC

We have a few stories coming out today about Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company (BAIC).
I think there will be more to come. And I think we’re looking at the Chinese company that has placed a bid for Saab.
How it’s all happened:
BAIC were identified as being a company that placed a late bid for Opel. Their bid is most likely very well funded, being authorised by the Chinese government, but as it was late, GM are said to be ignoring it and dealing only with the three bidders for Opel who have already been identified (FIAT, Magna and RHJ).
German publication,, wrote that BAIC were using a German Bank to front for them in negotiations. And this is the important link.
All sources have said that Saab had a Chinese bidder amongst the ranks. Geely were ruled out by their own admission and externally to me by several sources. That bidder was not known, however. and Auto Motor and Sport both mentioned that a German Bank was in on the process. had the opinion – several times – that the Germans were fronting for GM as a control in the negotiations. AMS heard that it was Magna.
I think it was BAIC and that this is the Chinese company that are bidding for Saab.
The questions that remain now are:

  • If they’re interested in Opel, does that mean they’ve lost interest in Saab?
  • Would GM be interested in dealing with them?

One interesting thing about BAIC bidding on Saab is that would quite possibly take the Swedish government out of the equation as a deciding factor. I’m sure they’d still have an influence somehow, but BAIC would be financed so well that the EIB loans the Swedish government have offered to guarantee would quite possibly not be required.

The BAIC plot thickens…..

The story of Beijing Automotive’s interest in European vehicle manufacturers continues to unfold.
This is a rather poor Googletrans from a German publication,, which includes a little info on BAIC and who’s been representing them.

Meanwhile, BAIC [unknown trans] a large German bank with the mandate to safeguard their interests in order to – in spite of the expiry dates of previous bidders – yet to be considered. BAIC is already a partner of the German auto group Daimler. Among the Chinese leadership to be Opel brand will be occurring globally, there is no product overlap. BAIC wants information from this newspaper after 4 billion euros in loan guarantees. The bid is the support of the sole shareholder, the City of Beijing.

What that’s saying is that BAIC have been working through a large German bank, making them a faceless part of the negotiations.
Now if you’ll remember back to last week, there were stories around of a German bank being one of the three bidders for Saab. had them pegged as a front for General Motors, which I’ve dismissed here several times.
But this makes sense now. Saab had a Chinese bidder. That much I know. and AMS heard that a German bank was representing someone.
I think in persuing the Opel story have cracked they mysterious German bank and who they’re representing in the Saab story.

WSJ: Chinese too late for Opel

The Wall St Journal are reporting that whilst Beijing Automotive (BAIC) have sent an expression of interest for Opel, they were too late and that GM are not going to entertain their interest.

BEIJING – General Motors Corp. has received from Beijing Automotive Industry Holding an expression of interest in acquiring the U.S. auto maker’s German Adam Opel GmbH unit, but does not plan to pursue getting an offer from the Chinese auto maker, according to a person familiar with the matter.
GM received a letter from Beijing Auto Thursday last week, one day after the bid deadline. The letter, however, did not include a specific offer for Opel, the person said.
An official in Beijing Auto’s media relations department said Wednesday the company had no information to announce on the topic.

The presence of a Chinese bid for Opel was first mentioned by Germany’s Economic Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, because they deemed the existing offers from Magna, FIAT and RHJ to be insufficient.
FIAT has since lowered its demands for loan guarantees.
Magna is emerging as the government and union favourite, though some industry experts are apparently sill very wary of them, saying they don’t have sufficient cash.
German officials are meeting with US and GM officials later today as they want to get this finalised before GM get pulled into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Its interesting that no news is coming out of Sweden conveying the same urgency, but then Saab is a much smaller piece of the pie and spokespersons at Saab seem quite convinced that GM’s chapter 11 proceedings wouldn’t have much impact on Saab’s sale.

But if a GM bankruptcy is imminent, it is nothing that affects Saab Automobile in Trollhättan.
– Not very practical, no. We are working on with our process and assumes that GM sells Saab and the current situation does not affect the bankruptcy process at all, “says Gunilla Gustavs, Information Officer for Saab, to Swedish Radio West.

Thanks Dippen!
The news that GM will not entertain this bid from BAIC means that they’re possibly back in the game with Saab – if they were ever out.

The curious case of BAIC, Opel and Saab

The Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Company, or BAIC, has emerged in the news as a late bidder for Opel.
From Reuters:

Chinese carmaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC) has submitted an offer to buy Opel, a source close to BAIC told Reuters on Tuesday.
BAIC’s plan envisions preserving all four Opel plants in Germany for at least two years and foresees no job cuts in the country, a financial source said, adding the concept called for less than 5 billion euros in state aid.
BAIC would invest 660 mln euros in equity.

This is especially interesting not only for Opel-watchers, but for Saab-watchers as well. A few days ago, I wrote this here at Saabs United:

There’s some talk coming from Djup Strupe to the effect that GM Europe might be stalling the Saab sale process a little. The word is that Deutsche Bank are actually having a hard time getting GME on the phone to make a decision of any consequence.
Maybe the Opel deal has them all tied up. I hope we still get a decision soon, even if it’s not announced, just to know that it’s been made will start the closure process.

I’m now quite convinced that the two are related.
I’m pretty confident in stating that BAIC were one of the Chinese companies that toured the Saab facility and with Geely out of the running, they could quite possibly be the Chinese bidder amongst the final group of three bidders.
This last-minute grab for Opel could well be why things have gone quiet between Deutsche Bank and GM Europe in relation to Saab. An extra bid to evaluate would tie up some resources.
And then there’s the question about whether BAIC are still interested in Saab given their apparent interest in Opel. Do they want both, like FIAT did? Or have they lost interest in Saab, or been told they’re not going to be successful with Saab?
BAIC has long-term partnerships with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai, as well as joint venture operations with Lear, Visteon and Johnson Controls. They also make their own group of rip-off designs for their domestic market.

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