Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the best deal of them all?

GM had four brands to sell a few months ago:

  • Saab
  • Hummer
  • Saturn
  • Opel

All four have found buyers, but only two of those purchases and deals look to be reasonably solid at the moment – Saturn and Saab.
The deal for Hummer has hit a rather massive roadblock in the form of the Chinese government. BBC Radio reported that the government is frowning on the deal due to the nature of Hummer vehicle conflicting with the direction that they want Chinese companies to move in. The buyer, Tengzhong, say they’re sill on the case and negotiating with both GM and the Chinese authorities.
The deal for Opel appears to be far from done, with GM going as far as signing tentative agreements with both RHJ and Beijing Automotive just in case the deal with Magna falls over.
The Saturn deal looks like a solid one, with Roger Penske acquiring some prime dealerships with a pretty open field of vehicles that he can stock in them.
Of course, the deal for Saab is ongoing, but looking solid from where I stand. There are questions over finance, but I believe that the people involved are going to use their considerable energy and ideas to make sure this deal gets done.
We’ve already uncovered one of the legal minds involved with the process – Pranav Trivedi – who has extensive experience dealing with Russian business deals. That would indicate that there’s some Russian connections involved with this deal.
Karen spotted and article on the news wires today that mentions another of the legal team: Lynn Heistand. Like Trivedi, Heistand works from Skadden’s London office and she is mentioned in the AMLaw Daily site as their Dealmaker of the Week, for working concurrently on the Koenigsegg-Saab deal and a deal for Nortel Networks, being acquired by Nokia Siemens.
A weekly award from a blog is not necessarily worth scrapbooking, but her CV makes for some good reading and it’s just more reassurance that there are some clued-in minds working on this.

Koenigsegg’s legal team give some insights….

Turbin’s tracked down some good information on who’s working behind the scenes on Koenigsegg’s purchase of Saab from General Motors.
A post on the legal weblog, amlawdaily, indicates that Koenigsegg’s international counsel on this deal is a guy by the name of Pranav Trivedi, who works for a law firm called Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. They call themselves Skadden for short.
Trivedi works in Skadden’s London office, but has a much wider history than that, including what I think must be a link to one of the members of The Koenigsegg Group.
Trivedi’s inclusion on the team is two things:
It’s good if you like very experienced operators who are named by Chambers Global as one of the World’s Leading Lawyers for Business and a guy who’s pulled off one deal that was awarded Deal of the Year by publication – The Banker.
It’s not-so-good if you’re wary of Russian connections and possibly, Russian money.
The Koenigsegg connection appears to be Augie Fabela, who was a founder and chief of Vimpelcom, a Russian telecommunications company, until 2002. Fabela has been named as Chairman of the newly formed Koenigsegg Group board, though he is not listed as a shareholder in the Koenigsegg Group.
Trivedi has listed on his CV, amongst many other things, the following:

Mr Trivedi’s experience in mergers and acquisitions transactions in Russia includes, among other matters, advising:

  • the special committee of the board of directors of Golden Telecom, Inc. in Vimpel-Communications’s US$4.3 billion acquisition of Golden Telecom via a tender offer;

In addition to that possibly direct relatationship, it should be noted that Fabela is connected to a US-Russia Business Council and that the bulk of Trivedi’s experience is in Russian business circles. I’m sure their paths have crossed several times.

The link to Russia may scare some, but do not lose sight of the fact that Travedi has impeccable credentials (including education at Columbia and Yale), a superb and award-winning reputation and the one thing that Koenigsegg’s been criticised for a little – he’s got plenty of experience in this field.
I’m confident that time spent staring over the table at the odd Russian oligarch has prepared him for negotiations with General Motors.
And by the way, Turbin has received an honorary Simon Townsend’s WonderWorld Woodrow the Bloodhound award for this piece of work.
Wear it with pride, cobber!!
Thanks to Kroum for the artwork!

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