GM Sells Saab to Spyker, Sources Report
By Brendan Moore
UPDATE – 12:30 PM ET, Jan 25: GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre stated during a press conference a short time ago that, “GM does not have a deal” and “has not changed direction” on shutting down its Swedish unit”. He said the GM is still moving forward with the orderly shutdown of Saab.
Sources in Sweden are still reporting that a deal is imminent.
Original post follows:
Several sources are now reporting that a deal to sell Saab to the Dutch supercar maker Spyker Cars NV has been reached, and will be announced later today.
United Press International, Reuters, Sweden’s Dagens Industri and the Financial Times are all reporting that Spyker will hold a press conference today to make public the agreement, which take effect as soon as possible in order to minimize any business disruptions. It is expected that GM will either participate in the same press conference, or, issue their own public statement.
Bloomberg News is reporting that Spyker has offered GM approximately $500 million USD for Saab. The $500 million breaks out as follows: $325 million in preferred shares in the next corporate iteration of Saab, $75 million in cash and $100 million of Saab’s existing liquid assets.
The deal marks the end of a long, forced march for Spyker, who has now been trying to meet GM’s conditions for a bid for sometime now, and has been rebuffed over and over. It also puts them squarely on the map as “somebody” in the world of mainstream automotive manufacturing.
The sale agreement comes at the expense of rival bidder, Genii Capital, who had recently stepped up their efforts to win Saab, but it appears that Spyker’s head start in the bidding was the determining factor. If Spyker falters in the execution of the deal, a la the previous would-be owner of Saab, Koenigsegg, it is expected that Genii will step into the breach. The Luxemburg-based Genii was getting help from Bernie Ecclestone, head of Formula One, in their efforts to buy Saab.
It seems the breakthrough that paved the way for the sale of Saab was achieved over the weekend in lengthy sessions Spyker had with both GM and the Swedish government. The Swedish government agreeed to guarantee a financing loan from the European Investment Bank for the Swedish car maker, said people close to the deal. The same sources said that, for their part, GM accepted the basic terms of Spyker’s offer, but wanted Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, the chairman and biggest investor in Spyker, to leave the company.
In a related note, Spyker Cars stock shares spiked 30 percent in morning trading in Amsterdam on news of the deal.
We will bring you more details as we know more.
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