Formula One boss submits new Saab bid

The battle over the future of Saab Automobile took another twist on Wednesday as a group including Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital submitted a new bid to buy the Swedish automaker from General Motors.

Formula One boss submits new Saab bid

“We have made a new offer showing the financial strength of Genii-Ecclestone and our long-term financial commitment to Saab, which means that we are capable of supporting Saab for a long period of time and are committed to the automotive industry,” Swedish businessman Lars Carlström told AFP.

“The offer was made an hour ago (at 1300 GMT). We expect feedback from GM within this week and we expect the start of discussions with GM within a week also,” he added.

He refused to disclose any details of the offer.

General Motors chief executive Ed Whitacre said earlier this week that his company wanted 450 million dollars for Saab, which has barely turned a profit in two decades under GM ownership.

GM, which announced plans to wind down the iconic Swedish brand on December 18, last week put Saab into liquidation despite several last-ditch bids for the company.

The bidders include the small Dutch sports car maker Spyker, the Genii-Ecclestone group, and a Swedish group fronted by the former chief executive of German truck manufacturer MAN and a former politician.

On Monday, a source familiar with the talks said Spyker is “the only one” with an “attractive” offer.

GM has said that it is continuing the wind-down procedure for Saab and at the same time studying any offers that come in.

Spyker founder and chief executive Victor Muller said Tuesday his company has the money to buy Saab and said GM was considering its offer very seriously.

Saab, which employs 3,400 people in Sweden, is one of four storied brands being shed by GM as part of a massive restructuring effort that began in 2005 and accelerated last year when the largest US automaker went bankrupt.

Analysts have warned that some 8,000 jobs could be lost with Saab’s closure.

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US judge rejects Saab bankruptcy lawsuit

A US court has dismissed a $3 billion lawsuit by previous Saab owner Spyker alleging that US auto giant General Motors (GM) was responsible for causing the Swedish carmaker's bankruptcy.

US judge rejects Saab bankruptcy lawsuit

The Dutch sports car maker filed suit against GM in August 2012, claiming the US automaker interfered in a transaction that would have allowed Saab to restructure and stay afloat because GM wanted to dominate the Chinese market.

Saab, a former GM subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy in December 2011 after teetering on the edge of financial ruin for almost two years. A last-ditch bid to raise funds in China, with the group Youngman, was nixed by GM over technology transfer issues.

“GM’s actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM’s tortiously interfering with a transaction… to restructure and remain a solvent growing concern,” Spyker said in the statement at the time.

GM filed a motion to have the lawsuit thrown out and on Monday a federal judge in Detroit agreed.

“General Motors had a contractual right to approve or disapprove the proposed transaction,” U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain said in a hearing in Detroit, according to the Reuters news agency.

“The court is going to grant the motion to dismiss the matter.”

Spyker CEO Victor Muller refused to say whether or not he would appeal the ruling.

“We’ll consider an appeal as soon as soon as we have the written ruling,” Muller told the TT news agency via text message.

Muller has previously explained that the $3 billion figure associate with the lawsuit corresponds to what Saab would have been worth had GM not scuttled the deal with Youngman.

TT/The Local/dl

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