If there was ever a time that we were most unsure about Saab’s future, it would now: General Motors just announced that Koenigsegg Group AB has pulled out of negotiations to buy Saab. President and CEO Fritz Henderson said in a very succinct statement (available after the break) that GM is “very disappointed with the decision to pull out of the Saab purchase” and that “given the sudden change in direction, [GM] will take the next several days to assess the situation and will advise on the next steps next week.”
What will happen to the Swedish automaker is anyone’s guess at this point. If memory serves us right, there was another bidder in the running to buy Saab before Koenigsegg was chosen as the preferred buyer. Whether or not that other party is still interested or even has the financial backing to continue with the deal is unknown at this point.
It may be that Koenigsegg is simply playing hardball with GM and walking away from the table to obtain a lower price for Saab. If this is not the case and the high-end performance automaker is truly no longer interested in Saab, it would truly be a shame the deal fell through, as many believed Koenigsegg had the ability to turn Saab into a Scandinavian performance-luxury powerhouse. It’s also important to note GM’s reaction here – which is different from its very direct announcement when the Roger Penske group pulled out from acquiring Saturn in late September. At that time, GM immediately stated that it would begin “winding down” the brand and contacted dealers to begin negotiations regarding financial matters and dealer equity buyouts. This is not the case with Saab.
The news of Koenigsegg backing out of the deal comes almost two weeks after General Motors reversed its decision to sell Opel to Canadian parts manufacturer Magna and its Russian financial partner Sberbank. At this point, perhaps GM should look to China for a buyer for Saab, since The General sold its Hummer division to Sichuan Tengzhong – a deal that’s currently undergoing customary closing conditions and regulatory approval – and Ford has picked Chinese firm Geely Automobile as the preferred bidder for Volvo. Needless to say, we’ll be following the future of Saab closely in the weeks to come.
Follows the jump for GM’s press release.[Source: General Motors]
Koenigsegg Group AB Terminates Agreement For Purchase of Saab
DETROIT — General Motors confirmed today that the proposed sale of its Saab subsidiary to Koenigsegg Group AB was terminated at the discretion of the buyer.
“We’re obviously very disappointed with the decision to pull out of the Saab purchase,” said GM President and CEO, Fritz Henderson. “Many have worked tirelessly over the past several months to create a sustainable plan for the future of Saab by selling the brand and its manufacturing interests to Koenigsegg Group AB. Given the sudden change in direction, we will take the next several days to assess the situation and will advise on the next steps next week.”