Renault R30 F1 car – click above for high-res image gallery
With his stranglehold on Formula One's commercial rights firmly in place, Bernie Ecclestone is more accustomed to taking money than spending it. But after selling his prized classic car collection a couple of years ago, the F1 supremo teamed up with Luxembourg-based Genii Capital in a bid to take over Saab from General Motors. With precious little time to iron out a solid business case, Ecclestone and Genii lost out to Spyker in the Saab deal, but according to reports, that may not be the end of
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.
The Renault name will remain on the Formula One grid when the series resumes in 2010 thanks to a deal announced on Wednesday. There had been considerable speculation in recent months that Renault would shut down its F1 effort and follow Honda, BMW and Toyota out the door. These rumors hit a fever pitch after the "Crash-Gate" controversy and the sudden departure of primary sponsor ING.