GM ‘won’t support’ new plans to save Saab

General Motors (GM) said on Saturday it cannot accept any of the proposed solutions presented so far to help save Swedish automaker Saab Automobile, which continues to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy.

GM 'won't support' new plans to save Saab

In an email statement issued on Saturday, GM spokesperson James Cain said Saab’s new proposals were “not meaningfully different” from previous solutions which GM had already rejected.

“Each proposal results either directly or indirectly in the transfer of control and/or ownership of the company in a manner that would be detrimental to GM and its shareholders,” said Cain.

“As such, GM cannot support any of these proposed alternatives.”

Speaking with Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), Saab CEO Victor Muller countered by saying that “GM doesn’t have anything to say” on a deal in which Chinese automaker Youngman would receive “zero percent” of the shares in Saab Automobile.

“The statement obviously comes from hearsay and is meant to negatively affect Monday’s court proceedings,” Muller told SvD.

On Monday, Vänersborg District Court will convene to decide on whether Saab’s reorganization should be terminated or extended.

The court will also examine the question of whether, Guy Lofalk, the current administrator appointed by the court to oversee Saab’s business reorganization, should have his term extended or if he should be replaced by Lars Söderqvist.

Citing sources within Saab, SvD reported the company plans to present a plan to the court on Monday whereby the Swedish automaker would launch a technology development company in the Netherlands, half of which would be owned by Youngman.

“I don’t understand at all why GM would say something like this,” Söderqvist told the TT news agency.

“The latest proposal isn’t formulated in such a way as to require approval from GM.”

If GM’s statement stems from a misunderstanding of some sort, Söderqvist is convinced that GM will be supplied with the information it needs.

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Bayer buys Monsanto for $66 bn after months-long pursuit

German chemicals giant Bayer said on Wednesday it had signed a $66 billion (€58.8 billion) takeover deal with US seeds and pesticides firm Monsanto.

Bayer buys Monsanto for $66 bn after months-long pursuit
Photo: DPA

“Bayer and Monsanto today announced that they signed a definitive merger agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto for USD 128 per share in an all-cash transaction,” the firms said in a statement.

Bayer repeatedly increased its offer to Monsanto since its first $122-per-share bid, but the US firm had until now held out for more cash.

“This represents a major step forward for our crop science business,” Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said in the statement.

The two firms said that the deal “brings together two different, but highly complementary” businesses.

Monsanto shareholders still have to approve the deal, as do regulators – with Bayer staking a $2 billion reverse antitrust break fee in case the merger is rejected by US or European authorities.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Bayer has been pursuing Monsanto since late May, when it made an initial bid of $122 per share (€109), valuing the US genetically modified (GM) crop giant at $62 billion. Monsanto rejected that bid, but said it was “open” to further talks.

Since then the German chemicals behemoth has raised its offer twice, first to $125 per share in July and then to $127.50 last week, but was rebuffed each time.

Mosanto held out for more money, calling the July bid “insufficient”.

The long-mooted tie-up has rung alarms bells for some farmers who fear the power of the combined company in the market for seeds and pesticides, while opponents of genetically-modified food in Europe worry about Monsanto's influence on the continent.

“We do not like this transaction, because we think that Bayer is overpaying significantly,” wrote analyst Peter Spengler of DZ bank on Wednesday before the deal was confirmed.

Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) seed offerings and Climate Corp data analytics offering to farmers would fit in with Bayer's crop protection lines, the firms said in the statement announcing the deal.

The combined group will also emerge with a total research and development budget of €2.5 billion. Added together, Bayer and Monsanto booked sales of €23 billion in 2015.

Bayer said that it expects synergy savings from the merger will allow it to add $1.5 billion to its underlying profit as measured by EBITDA within three years.