Eker: Misquoted. All apparently goes well with Saab and Koenigsegg

If we’ve learned anything through this whole Saab-sale experience, it’s that newspapers can write damning and downright incorrect stories about the Saab sale, get away with almost zero reputational damage and get themselves a whole lot of coverage around the world (don’t underestimate the hunger for inbound links when it comes to online reporting).

Norwegian newpaper, DN.no, caused a storm overnight when they claimed a whole bunch of backroom deals were in progress between Mark Bishop and some Eastern European mafia types. All this despite the fact that Bishop has been reported previously to no longer own any shares in Koenigsegg Group.

It’s an interesting situation, this one. DN.no’s story is so far removed from what’s been reported so far that it either has to be true (with KG feeding us a bunch of BS for the last few months), or it’s a total and mischevious fabrication. Given that they seem to be relying on the word of a guy they damn for being a convicted felon, I’m betting on the latter.

<<UPDATE – ‘Oddjob’ has sent me a good, edited translation from the original article, which I’ve added in full at the end of this editorial>>

I’m working from a GoogleTrans, but DN.no seem to be saying the following:

  • Bishop was the ideas man when it came to the takeover of Saab, enlisting the help of Koenigsegg and others in the process.
  • Koenigsegg’s record of Bishop’s departure states that it was a mutual shareholder decision, citing negative publicity surrounding his stake in the group
  • DN.no say that in reality, he was ‘thrown out’ of the group when they became fearful of his connections and intentions to get some shady Russian figures involved in the deal.
  • DN.no have some quotes from Eker, saying that the board was ‘terrified’ and had to get Mark out. They also quote Eker as saying that if all funding issues aren’t sorted by this Wednesday, September 30, then the group will pull the pin on the whole transaction

They also claim that Bishop has engaged a guy who is a convicted fraudster, a guy by the name of Thomas Øye, to sell his shares in Koenigsegg Group. This is despite the fact that they quote Bishop himself (after saying he declined comment) as saying that he has no shares to sell.

Thomas Øye claims that he has been asked Bishop to sell the shares, and it’s this conflict in answers that seems to be the basis for the whole story. When in doubt, err on the side of the fraudster with a story to tell.

——

This story got picked up by Dagens Industri in Sweden and it took off from there. I posted a translation of the DI.se story on the site last night before crashing to a jetlagged night’s sleep.

I contacted Saab for a comment on it and this morning received a brief “all continues according to plan” reply, which is about as much as could reasonably be expected. If they had to provide detailed responses on every theory posed by the nordic press, they’d never get any work done.

——

For his part, Bard Eker has said to Auto Motor and Sport that he was mis-quoted in the original DN.no article, and as with Saab, he says that all is proceeding according to plan.

Editors of Auto Motor & Sport have been in contact with Bård Eker on Saturday morning and then been told to work with Saab affair continues according to plan. Bard Eker claims to be misquoted and has nothing further to add at this time.

——

Christian von Koenigsegg has also said the same to Reuters:

Koenigsegg’s top executive said on Saturday the luxury sport scar maker still aimed to finalize a deal to buy Saab Automobile from General Motors (GM.UL) by the end of October.

Koenigsegg Chief Executive and part owner Christian von Koenigsegg also told Reuters that good progress was being made in talks to secure Swedish state guarantees for billions of crowns of loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

“Our deadline for the deal still remains the end of October as we have previously said,” he said.

——

The thing that tips my opinion in favour of a DN.no beat-up is the fact their story seems to ignore a few things.

It ignores, for example, the change in ownership structure with 42% of the Koenigsegg Group now being owned by Augie Fabela’s Solsken company.

It ignores the addition of Beijing Automotive to the financial structure, which has taken the heat out of the transaction in terms of funds required.

These are pretty large things to ignore. When you need a story and you’ve got a source (Øye) willing to say something, even if it’s in contradiction to statements made by the key person concerned (Bishop) then I guess the story’s too inviting to be ignored.

It’s little wonder the Koenigsegg people are reluctant to do interviews with the Scandinavian press at the moment. I imagine they’ll be more forthcoming when the deal is done and the real work begins.

——

Following is a full edited GoogleTrans from the original DN.no article. My thanks to ‘Oddjob’ for sending it through….

Hidden games can overturn Saab Agreement

HIDDEN GAME: They were to save the Swedish car maker Saab from bankruptcy. Wednesday can be the fairytale end

The shy loan shark Mark Bishop was the brain behind Saab’s rescue operation. Then he was thrown out of a collaboration with Koenigsegg group. In the quiet, he has initiated a financial game around Koenigsegg that can topple the entire Saab Agreement. The job gave him the fraud convicted ex x megleren Thomas Eye, newspaper Dagens Næringsliv on Saturday.

In May this year a group Koenigsegg enthusiasts found company Koenigsegg Group ab. The company consists of Christian von Koenigsegg, the Norwegian industrial designer Bård Eker, the U.S. Telecom billionaire Augie Fable II and Mark Bishop. Bishop is the company’s second-largest shareholder, with 22 percent.

16. June comes the message that will surprise the entire European automotive industry: Koenigsegg Group enters into an agreement with General Motors to buy Saab.

Spider

When Mark Bishop comes to Sweden, he takes his role as the automotive industry’s Greta Garbo.

He says not a word in the media. He evade photographers and get nicknames like “Saab-ghost” and “Spider.”

Both Saab and the Swedish government, said they know nothing about him. The media speculates in if he has any money at all. “We do not know much about Mark Bishop, but we will make a further investigation if it is appropriate in state loan guarantees,” says the Swedish Ministry of Economics in June.

They did not have to investigate him. On 25 June the board of Koenigsegg Group ab was gathered in Gothenburg. The partners have decided to kick Bishop. The board report gives the following explanation:

“Mark Bishop has been bombarded with negative press both in Sweden and the United States. A majority of the Directors has determined that these negative testimonials, may interfere with the ongoing transaction. To ensure that such attempts to interfere with the Saab transaction does not adversely affect the Koenigseggs efforts to implement Mark’s original goal to help Trollhättan community by putting together a group of investors to buy the Saab, the shareholders have agreed that he should resign from the board of Koenigsegg Group. ”

On the same day disappear Mark Bishop’s stake from Koenigsegg Groups share register.

Investors from Eastern Europe

But the story of Mark Bishop’s hasty departure is more than what is recorded in board minutes. Koenigsegg Board is aware that Bishop has contacts with “investors” from Eastern Europe who are trying to get into the Saab-trade. The Eastern Europeans wants to join in as shareholders. Bishops contacts scares Koenigsegg board. The board fears it may be about the Russian mafia, and concludes that the Bishops contacts can ruin the whole project. He must be sacrificed.

– Several of the board was completely terrified. Those of us who have done business in Russia before, knew how this can come to end. Either we had to cancel the whole project, or Mark had to be out, “says Bård Eker to DN.

Bishop has not answered any questions about this from Dagens Næringsliv.

Ex-broker

Today, Bishop jobs for the Canadian Fund Omniarch, which buys residential debt for a low price. Omniarch is also a company that former stockbroker Thomas Eye know well. Eye has a very doubtful reputation because of his grey-market adventures and personal bankruptcy. He is convicted for fraud of five million from NOKAS David Toska.

Recently, the emigrated Thomas Eye worked to set up a new fund for Omniarch. In the late summer of this year, Mark Bishop visited Thomas Eye in his home in Marbella, Spain. Bishop givesThomas Eye a mission: Sell the 20 percent stake in Koenigsegg Group.

Half price

The Norwegian brokerage Carnegie has a time worked to bring investors to the new company, and in an investor presentation appreciates the Koenigsegg Group to one billion dollars if the purchase is in order – a so-called “pre-money valutation”.

If the new Saab comes into operation, and lives up to the new owners’ expectations, Carnegie values the company to 2.6 billion dollars. Koenigsegg-founders will eventually be left with 50 percent of the shares Saab, after the DN experience. If they succeed, the Koenigsegg-founders have shares in Saab to a value of 1.3 billion U.S. dollars – almost ten billion NEK.

But Mark Bishop has no time to wait for a possible breakthrough.

In early September, Thomas Eye offered investors 20 percent of the Koenigsegg group for 60 million dollars. This is almost half the price of the Carnegie appreciation of the Koenigsegg share. Later the price drops to 30 million.

– Do not know Eye

Despite the fact that DN has the documentation that shows that Mark Bishop has given Thomas Eye commission to sell Koenigsegg shares, he is denying today that he knows the Norwegian finance acrobat. Or that he has any shares to sell.

– I am neither a shareholder or board member of the Koenigsegg. I have no shares, “said Bishop.

– We know that Thomas Eye is trying to sell your stocks?

– It is impossible – when I do not have any share, The only ones that represent Koenigsegg Group, is Carnegie, “says Bishop.

Thomas Eye confirms that he has received an assignment of the former owner.

– Mark Bishop has asked me to find a buyer for his shares, “said Thomas Eye.

Who’s fooling who?

Carnegie-chief Anders Onarheim has also heard that someone is trying to dump the Koenigsegg shares – while Carnegie tries to get the company $ 100 million in fresh money.

– We have heard the same thing, but it does not relate to us. We have looked at the Saab case and find it exciting, and so we try to see if we can help it.

– It’s not so easy to sell shares if someone else tries to sell to a much lower price at the same time?

– That may be so, but here there is a question of what they actually have to sell. We have noticed that there is some things going on, but we do not care about it, “said Onarheim.

Who’s fooling who? Who owns the shares that Mark Bishop and Thomas Øye travels around the world to sell? Who is behind the backs of whom, who fronts what and who meets himself in the door?

Drops the funding

Koenigsegg management has now informed the Swedish government about the wild games around Koenigsegg shares. Bard Eker said that they also have stopped the planned Carnegie funding.

– This is an open wound, we must treat. We must eventually address the issue of additional funding later. We have also been contacted by someone who is very serious. So it’s not just grief, “says Eker.

In the middle of next week can Mark Bishop’s initial vision to save Saab be reality. Or in the worst case, both Koenigsegg Group and the Saab be history.

Koenigsegg Group has decided to fight for ownership of Saab just five days.

– If not everything is in place by Wednesday 30 September, we are out. Then we withdraw, “says Eker.

Saab/Koenigsegg Group in some financial danger?

The following is an article from today’s Dagens Industri, a Swedish economic newspaper.
Naturally I’ve sent and email off to Saab for some comment. This could be quite serious, if accurate.
Thanks to ctm for the translation. I’ll publish any response from Saab as soon as I can (however it may not be until morning). I wish there were more I could tell you.
——
Koenigsegg Group’s takeover of Saab could break down. Carnegie Investment Bank AB has pulled out of the issue, and Mark Bishop continues to be an uncertainty.
The group of owners have decided to give the deal with Saab another five days.
“Unless everything is in place before September 30 then we are out,” said the Norwegian financier and major owner of Koenigsegg Group, Bård Eker, to Dagens Næringsliv.
“We have held on long enough. It costs a lot of money. People criticize me for using a lot of money offshore, but I can promise you that is nothing compared to hiring consultants from around the world,” he continues.
Koenigsegg seems to have problems with funding. According to the newspaper, the Carnegie-led issue that would give the company around 670 million SEK is stopped.
One explanation for the Carnegie pull-out is that the former major owner Mark Bishop tried to sell the yet unrealized value of the 22-percent share he had in Koenigsegg Group. On June 25 he was ousted from the cooperation with Koenigsegg and then his property were transferred equally among Christian von Koenigsegg and Bård Eker.
As payment Mark Bishop obtained an agreement on compensation in case of a deal between Saab and Koenigsegg. That is an agreement he has tried to dump to various stakeholders, which has caused concern on the market.
And he has not hired just anyone to help him. According to Dagens Næringsliv, Mark Bishop, who now works for the Canadian capital fund Omniarch, hired the former Norwegian stock broker Thomas Øye. The Norwegian is convicted of receiving stolen goods and has dubious reputation.
According to Dagens Næringsliv, Thomas Øye found two potential buyers: Isaac Cohen, 26-year-old heir to a real estate empire, and the American lawyer Peter L Brig.
According to what Bård Eker says to the newspaper, The Swedish Government, has been informed of Mark Bishop’s plans.

Latest Koenigsegg news from print news in Sweden

I just got an email in from Sweden, where it’s quite early in the morning.
It reads as follows:

Good morning / afternoon!
Just read an article in todays edition of the paper version of Dagens Industri here in Sweden.
I can’t write the entire article, but it said that Mark Bishop has sold his shares in K-segg group and that there is a new owner. The article also says that Augie Fabela is the leading person in K-egg group and that they had a meeting with Saab/GM last week here in Sweden.
Just wanted to give you that short notice.. to keep you updated. I haven’t found that article on the online-version of Dagens Industri, but if I do I’ll send you a link later.

I’ll keep an eye out. If you Swedes spot it online, please feel free to update us via comments.
——
Thanks to Carl-Henrik for the update!

OK Finance Guys – what happens to Koenigsegg Group?

I know we’ve got a couple of lawyers and M&A people tuning in here.
Maybe you can give us the benefit of your expertise?
DI.se are saying that it is Mark Bishop who is the one leaving the Koenigsegg Group (we called it early) and other papers seem happy enough to pick up their report and run with it.
Bishop was a 22% owner of the Koenigsegg Group and I assume that he doesn’t have the freedom to just take his money and leave. Wouldn’t he be obliged to sell his holding someone rather than just leave the group under-funded?
I’m firm in the belief that Augie Fabela is the main mover and shaker in this group, despite holding no direct stake himself. His connections in Russia were always going to be players in this venture IMHO.
I’ll wager that Bishop’s stake means that one of these potential connections comes out of the shadows and into the light – perhaps it’ll even be Fabela himself.
You expertise is welcome, experts.
——
As Karen noted in comments, there are remarks in the WSJ from Paul Akerlund (head of the union and straight shooter who’s generally very well informed in the European style) and Saab’s own Gunilla Gustavs.
From comments:

“…Paul Akerlund, who represents IF Metall, the biggest union at Saab, also expressed confidence the deal is on track.
“For us the important thing is that we feel comfortable the buyer is a group that has the financial muscle [to lead saab in the future] – and we are feeling comfortable,” he said.
He also criticized the government’s liasion, Joran Hagglund, who’s a state secretary in the Enterprise Department, for discussing the negotiations in the media.
“I think it’s very strange that a state secretary comments on business negotiations between two private companies,” Akerlund said, adding it “only fuels speculation.”
Hagglund didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment. …
Akerlund said Saab is not planning to apply for an extension. Saab’s Gustavs, however, said it remains to be seen and that “Saab will leave reconstruction when it’s right for the company to do so.”

Now I don’t know exactly what Akerlund’s privy to, but in 4+ years of writing this website and it’s predecessor, I’ve never known him to be wrong.

Dagens Industri on Mark Bishop

One of the reasons the Koenigsegg deal isn’t quite the ecstatic squal-inducing situation that the name suggests it should be is because there’s people in the background who not only seem to have – shall we say ‘questionable’ – past careers, and because they seem determined to keep themselves out of the spotlight.
One of those people – and I don’t know if there’s any more, but I’ve a feeling there are more – is an American guy by the name of Mark Bishop.
The Swedish newspaper, Dagens Industri, sent a few reporters over to the US to try and dig up some more information about him. They came up reasonably short. Most of what they found has already been mentioned here through research conducted by myself, Karen and a few others, but there are some interesting additions and extra context here that make it a worthwhile read.
This article hasn’t appeared online, so I owe Börjesson a huge debt of gratitude for the translation and the addition of it to last night’s comments.
——
The mystery surrounding Bishop thickens
SAN DIEGO/LOS ANGELES
Who is the mysterious American businessman behind Koenigsegg’s purchase of Saab Automobile? DI has investigated Mark Bishop’s business deals in southern California and found a man who is involved in a large number of companies that have dealt in high risk loans, so called subprime loans.
Nothing that DI has discovered suggests that he has any large fortune that could finance a takeover of Saab.
Before the Saab deal became known, 53 year old Mark Bishop was an anonymous San Diego businessman. He has no connection to the car industry or any other manufacturing industry.
Instead, Mark Bishop has spent the last 25 years working with loan financing for housing, and especialy so called subprime loans which are one of the reasons for the financial crisis. The idea was to give loans to people who for some reason had bad or no credit rating, and to charge high interest. The companies that Mark Bishop worked within had as their business idea to either negotiate loans or to package them into securities and receive a few tenths of a percent interest for their trouble.
“This was a market that was totally out of control, where companies gave loans to people who simply couldn’t pay them back”, says Paul Leonard, head of the interest group Center for Responsible Lending in California.
Saved by Citigroup
Paul Leonard has only come across the name Mark Bishop once. That was when the large American bank Citigroup was forced to rescue Mark Bishop’s company Quick Loan Funding. However, he says that Mark Bishop could well have been a major player in southern Californai without appearing on the group’s radar.

Read moreDagens Industri on Mark Bishop

Tuesday night snippets – the news edition

There’s a couple of stories floating around the web that I’ll tie together here rather than dedicate to individual posts.
——
DI.se on Mark Bishop’s trail
There was a big article in Sweden’s Dagens Industri newspaper in the last couple of days. They were trying to track down The Koenigsegg Group’s mysterious shareholder, Mark Bishop, but seemingly without success.
They even went to the trouble of sending some reporters to California, but they were met with closed doors.
If there was anything worthwhile in the report that we didn’t already know, perhaps one of you Swedes could share some dot points with us? The report is not online as yet.

Leases back in town for UK market.
Some good news for British Saabers and dealers alike.
Lease providers in the UK, who had previously suspended writing up Saab leases due to uncertainty surrounding the company, have started doing business with Saab again.

Now an agreement has been reached between General Motors and the Swedish sports car maker, Koenigsegg, which should see Koenigsegg take control Saab within weeks.
As a result, lease companies here are revising their Saab policies again.
“We are writing business on Saab,” confirmed Mark Sinclair managing director of multi-marque provider, Alphabet.
“We have reconsidered our stance recently and have improved our rates accordingly.”

It’s nice to see a little bit of confidence, eh?
Not all lease providers have jumped on the bandwagon, with some still waiting to see what happens. Here’s hoping for some [K]-egg on their faces soon 🙂
Thanks to Karen, in comments!

Twitter-tipology
One of the reasons I’m getting back into Twitter, is to catch all the things that don’t make the headlines on various websites. I’ll be using it the same way.
Like tonight, where the Saab Newsroom posted a link to a new-old Saab 95 video from 1961 they’ve uploaded to Youtube.
Cool.
Other Saabers you can follow include Joe Oliver from Saab’s PR division and Peter Backstrom from the Saab Museum.

Opel no diamond
News continues to circulate about the Opel deal being far from over.

General Motors has stepped up negotiations with rival suitors to offload a stake in Opel/Vauxhall, its European carmaking business, and could sign at least one memorandum of understanding this week as talks with Magna International, preferred bidder, have hit obstacles.

Fiat’s offer is still on the table and both RHJ and BAIC are said to be considering raised offers very soon.
It’s worth bearing in mind that whilst we’re all very hopeful, the deal with Koenigsegg isn’t done yet, either.
They’re in the midst of their due diligence inspections right now, but that’s not open ended and one would guess there’ll have to be some hardcore negotiations and signatures sooner rather than later.

Money for pleasure
Via Jalopnik, a rare example of the undisputed #1 sex-on-wheels exclusomobile is for sale on Craigslist.
There’s no nudity in that ad but it could still be considered NSFW just because of the car.

Koenigsegg-Saab in the news today…..

There was mention of three out of four prominent members of the Koenigsegg group in the news today:
——
Bard Eker was making all the right noises in an article in The Guardian newspaper.

“Saab has to refine their quality level, their soul and spirit and we believe that this is something we can help with,” Eker told Reuters in a telephone interview. “The most interesting thing is that GM thinks the same,” added Eker…..
…..”So far we haven’t seen much in terms of environmentally friendly cars from the big (players),” he said. “That is something the smaller companies can more easily attend to because it is much quicker to turn around a smaller company.”
Asked if a “greener” Saab could be in the works, Eker said: “Obviously we have some ideas but it’s too early to talk about them … but environmental thinking is a very important thing in our view.”

It looks like maybe Kroum’s dream of a 500hp supercharged Koenigsaab 9-5 might have to wait a little.
I hope not, but maybe….
This is a great bit:

“They have a good management team and obviously that is something we will not interfere with,” he said.
Eker said the car industry faced “much more pain ahead” but that the opportunity to buy Saab was simply too good to pass up.
“The auto industry survivors will be much more dependent on bringing something new to the table in terms of technology and environmental thinking (after the crisis ends),” he said.
“Rising to such opportunities is one of our strengths.”

The rentention of Saab’s management team – who have kept Saab alive despite every GM attempt to make it irrelevant and homogenised – is a key to Saab’s ongoing growth. These people know what they’re dealing with.
——
Confirmation from a local San Diego newspaper that the Mark Bishop who holds 22% of The Koenigsegg Group is the Mark Bishop that we were speculating on a few days ago – the one I’ve dubbed “Flipper”.

A Rancho Santa Fe resident with a three-decade history of selling mortgage debt was identified yesterday as one of the new prospective owners of Saab Automobile.
In the deal announced yesterday, Mark Bishop, managing director of Liquiddium Capital Partners in Westlake Village, would own 22.2 percent of Saab, with the remainder held by Sweden’s tiny Koenigsegg Automotive and two other firms.
Bishop, 53, was traveling in Europe yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
Bishop has no known background in automotive companies. At Liquiddium, he’s in charge of finding funding and institutional investment for the firm’s real estate holdings.
Liquiddium’s strategy is to buy foreclosed-upon or underperforming real estate properties – including apartment complexes, retail stores and storage units – and then hold them for four to six years before reselling them.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Flipper? Maybe it’s the innate human desire to find someone to blame for things that go wrong?
I find his business (which has been more sub-prime oriented than is written here) and the outcome from it quite unpalatable but there’s nothing illegal about it. The fact that he got out of it before everything melted down shows some good timing.
I’ll try and mellow up a little.
——
And the name behind this whole Koenigsegg thing, Mr CvK himself, was also in the news.

Christian von Koenigsegg, founder of the sportscar maker that plans to buy Saab Automobile, said on Wednesday that Saab’s cash flow goals were “fairly reasonable” but hinged on economic conditions…..
…..”We are contemplating different scenarios according to what the market looks like and how that affects the business plan,” Christian von Koenigsegg told Reuters in an interview. Asked whether the new company could reach a positive cash flow as expected by Saab after 2010, he said: “That sounds fairly reasonable, but it all depends on the market conditions and if there is a turnaround in the economy.”
Koenigsegg said the business plan was undergoing stress tests and that he was cautious about the outlook for 2009 due to the downturn in the global economy.
“Our ambition is to turn the company around and keep it for the long term,” he said. “We are entrepreneurs. We are not venture capitalists.”

Again, he’s making all the right noises.
There are a lot of questions going around, especially in the Swedish media, about how this tiny company can afford to operate one that is thousands of times larger in terms of scale.
The PR gurus are very aware of this, which is why “financially strong” is being mentioned whenever you hear a Saab-connected person speak at the moment.

The Koenigsegg Group

Following yesterday’s news about the recent formation of the Koenigsegg Group (or, should I say, the application for this), there’s been some fruitful digging through the bowels of the internet to produce some background on the various players involved.
A lot of the hard yards have been made by Karen and she’s left a few links in comments, which I’ve followed up further.
The purpose of the exercise is to get a better grip on exactly who it is that’s using Koenigsegg’s enthusiast-friendly nameplate to purchase Saab.
The good news is that I think these people are going to go all out to make Saab profitable, because my initial impression is that not all of them are going in to this deal to stay as owners of Saab beyond around 5 years.
The not-so-good news is that IF this research is right (and I’m emphasising the IF for a reason), then at least one of these people is someone whose past associations could be characterised as ‘dubious’. Not Renco-level dubious, but it does make me wonder if he’ll stick around. As long as his money’s good, I guess.
——
Christian Von Koenigsegg’s first ever company, called Aalpraz and formed back in 1992, will be the largest single shareholder, with a 42.5% stake in the new group.
Koenigsegg Automotive will also be a shareholder, with 23.5% of the new group. Incidentally, that makes Volvo a part owner, too, as Volvo hold a small number of shares in Koenigsegg that were given to them as payment for use of a wind tunnel. It’s a slight worry that they had to barter in this fashion, but maybe that’s just me.
These two ownership shares indicate that the man with the automotive brains in this group – Christian Von Koenigsegg – is going to have plenty at stake. To a large extent, his life’s work and family name is going to depend on making Saab successful. That’s a good motivator if you ask me.
Koenigsegg Automotive is 49% owned by Bard Eker’s Eker Group so the Norwegian has an ownership stake that way already. In addition, however, the Eker Group will also have a direct share of the new group in the order of around 12%.
I like Bard Eker and his way of thinking. I like him a lot. Maybe this stake is why he’s had to sell his ownership interests elsewhere in recent times. That would seem to indicate that he’s going to have a lot at stake here as well.
The final shareholder – with a 22% holding in the Koenigsegg Group – is the one we didn’t know much about: Mark Bishop. Karen’s done some great digging and we think we’ve found our man. We knew his name and previous mail coming in to me indicated that he was based in California. He was hard to find, but I’m quite sure Karen’s on the money here.
The Mark Bishop we’ve found does most of his business in the real estate world. He was previously a VP with a Wall Street firm of questionable repute called Drexel Burnham Lambert. They were junk bond kings in the 1980s and declared bankruptcy in 1990. That doesn’t mean he had anything to do with that, of course, and Drexel alumni include people like the late Steve Fossett and execs now with Goldman Sachs and Cerberus (who just nose-dived Chrysler into bankruptcy and FIAT’s open arms).
Further digging indicates links to sub-prime mortgages (never a good phrase in these economic times) and mortgage pool investments. The most recent info, which Karen dug up, is an investment scheme aiming to buy troubled assets. From there I found associations with companies called Liquiddium and ABS Investment Group, both of which look into buying distressed properties with a view to realising gains as the properties come back to their real values.
This would be a troubling record for me. In short, he sounds like one of the Wall St types that we should be kinda mad at for all this financial crisis stuff we’re stuck in right now. Making money on sub-prime on the one hand and making money when the sub-prime mortgage holder has to sell on the other. It’s probably great business sense, but unpalatable to me, personally.
I’ve tried to contact Liquiddium, but the emails bounced. Let’s hope his cheques are better.
NOTE: All of this is contingent on whether or not we have indeed found the right Mark Bishop. The name is right, as is the location and the background.
This one walks, talks and looks like a duck, but we could still be wrong.

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