According to sources at The New York Times, General Motors' Hummer division has been sold to a machinery company in western China. That company, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd., presently doesn't build automobiles, it is known for making construction and maintenance equipment, but more recently it has segued into heavy-duty trucks.

The NYT says that the memorandum of understanding between GM and Sichuan Tengzhong needs to be signed off on by Beijing officials, as the government has the discretion to veto any purchases of overseas firms by a Chinese company, particularly those transactions valued over $100 million. Hummer's final price tag isn't yet known but it is widely believed that to be under $500 million. Hat tip to IHC!

UPDATE: It's official. GM's press release announcing the buyer is posted below the fold.


If Hummer's new buyer is Chinese, will that dent its flag-waving brand image in America?
Yes, it will 1 (25.0%)
No, it won't 1 (25.0%)
Not sure 1 (25.0%)
Hummer is already a damaged brand, this doesn't matter 1 (25.0%)

[Source: The New York Times]

PRESS RELEASE

Tengzhong In Advanced Talks To Purchase HUMMER From GM In Strategic Acquisition

DETROIT and SICHUAN, June 2, 2009 - Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd (Tengzhong) and General Motors Corp. today confirmed details of their proposed transaction, pursuant to which, Tengzhong, a major industrial machinery group, will acquire the rights to the premium off-road HUMMER brand, along with a senior management and operational team. It will also assume existing dealer agreements relating to HUMMER's dealership network. It is contemplated that Tengzhong will, as part of the transaction, enter into a long-term contract assembly and key component and material supply agreement with GM. In an earlier statement, GM said it expects the deal if successful to secure more than 3,000 US jobs. The final terms of the deal are subject to final negotiations.

Based in the Chinese province of Sichuan, Tengzhong is a privately-owned company and a leading domestic manufacturer of road, construction and energy industry equipment. It will expand into the premium off-road vehicle segment through what will be a strategic acquisition for Tengzhong and a catalyst for HUMMER's growth in the U.S. and around the world.

"The HUMMER brand is synonymous with adventure, freedom and exhilaration, and we plan to continue that heritage by investing in the business, allowing HUMMER to innovate and grow in exciting new ways under the leadership and continuity of its current management team," said Yang Yi, CEO of Tengzhong. Mr. Yang continued, "We will be investing in the HUMMER brand and its research and development capabilities, which will allow HUMMER to better meet demand for new products such as more fuel-efficient vehicles in the U.S."

HUMMER will continue to maintain its headquarters and operations in the U.S., and will continue to be managed by its existing leadership team. The team intends to expand HUMMER's dealer network worldwide, particularly into new and underserved markets such as China.

"Today HUMMER is a globally recognized brand with excellent growth prospects, both in terms of new markets and new products for our existing markets," said James Taylor, HUMMER chief executive officer. "With Tengzhong's investment and strong support, we will be able to make our visions a reality. This transaction, if successful, will secure more than 3,000 U.S. jobs, and allow us to embark on a more aggressive global expansion, ensuring a successful future with our new partners."

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the agreement will not be disclosed at this time.

Credit Suisse is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Shearman & Stearling is acting as international legal counsel to Tengzhong on this transaction. Citi is acting as financial advisor to GM.

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