F1 tycoon on starting grid in race to buy out ailing Saab
Published 09/01/2010 | 05:00
General Motors (GM) has begun the liquidation process for Saab just hours after receiving new offers from bidders interested in buying the ailing Swedish carmaker.
Alix Partners, a consultancy firm, has been appointed by GM to supervise the winding up of Saab in a process that is expected to take several months.
Meanwhile, GM is considering bids for the 60-year- old marque, including an offer from Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One tycoon.
Mr Ecclestone has teamed up with Genii Capital, the Luxembourg-based investment company that recently acquired a large stake in Renault's Formula One team.
Saab, which has been loss-making since 2001, was put up for sale a year ago by its current owner GM, but it has struggled to find a buyer.
Earlier this week, GM's chief executive Ed Whitacre said: "It's real easy. Just show up with the money and you can have it (Saab), but nobody's showing up with the money. I think we've done everything humanly possible."
Mr Ecclestone said: "It's a good brand that has probably been neglected by the current owners. We don't own it yet, so let's see what happens."
Spyker, the Dutch bespoke carmaker, has also put in an offer for the 62-year-old company.
Victor Muller, the company's chief executive, said: "We believe the Saab brand has lots of potential and would be keen to close a deal as quickly as possible."
There is also thought to be a Swedish consortium bidding for Saab, possibly headed by Jan Nygren, Sweden's former deputy prime minister.
Saab, which employs 3,400 people in Sweden, lost 3 billion kroner (€294m) in 2008. Up to 8,000 people worldwide could lose their jobs if the company is shut down.