General Motors may have sold off Saab to Spyker for $74 million and a 50 gallon bucket of Swedish meatballs, but it appears the "Born From Jets" automaker isn't saying goodbye to Michigan altogether. The Detroit News is reporting that Saab has chosen small but trendy Royal Oak, MI as the location for the company's North American headquarters. The move makes sense given the fact that Michigan has oodles of engineering talent and many of the world's automakers and suppliers have a presence in the
Spyker's deal to purchase General Motors' ailing Saab division out of the throes of insolvency appears to be moving along quite nicely. Production of vehicles is underway, a plan is in place to launch critical new models and the European Union has approved of a European Investment Bank loan of 400 million-euros ($546 million) to Spyker.
The long saga of Saab has generated a lot of headlines for us in the past few months. The latest was word that the deal between General Motors and Spyker was initially rejected because of the fact that one of Spyker's investors was tied to the Russian mafia. It wasn't until the Antonov Group was bought out, allegedly, that the deal proceeded.
What a long, strange trip it's been. Every thriller must have an endgame, although whether the guy gets the girl in the end or just plain "gets it" is often in doubt right until the final frame. This afternoon, after a most improbable and tortured saga, General Motors has finally agreed to sell Saab to Spyker Cars.
We have some news to report about the on-again-off-again saga that surrounds the fate of Saab. The Netherlands' securities agency has suspended trading of Spyker shares, which we're told usually happens before a big announcement is made. We're also hearing reports that Swedish news channels are quoting Spyker chief Victor Muller as saying an announcement will definitely be made later today.
Saab floats along in limbo as General Motors figures out what to do with its Swedish plum, meaning that dealers are stuck with moribund product to try and unload. It's as nasty as it sounds for the automaker, but for buyers, it means deals on Saabs like never before.
To paraphrase the once great weekend update anchor Chevy Chase, "Generalissimo Saab is still dead" and appears likely to stay that way. Bloomberg reports that Spyker is the last bidder standing to pick up the Swedish brand from General Motors, although Genii Capital and partner Bernie Eccelstone apparently haven't given up yet. At this point, according to the news service, Spyker is the only party in active talks with The General as the process of shutting down Saab has already begun. Genii hope
According to a press release quoted in Dow Jones Newswires, Stefan Lofven, head of Swedish trade union IF Metall, the board of Saab has voted today to liquidate the company. Simultaneously, General Motors has announced that it has hired AlixPartners to supervise the "orderly wind-down" of the marque.
Bernie Ecclestone, the long-time Formula One impresario, has confirmed to Bloomberg that he plans to make a play to buy Saab from General Motors. The pitch is evidently part of the bid by Genii Capital that we told you about earlier today. Genii's last-minute pitch may have been the reason why GM decided to postpone a scheduled board meeting today to determine the Swedish brand's fate.
Don't expect General Motors Corp. to make any new announcements regarding Saab now or in the near future, according GM spokesman Chris Preuss. According to a report in Automotive News, Preuss added that no new Saab deals are imminent with any interested parties.