General Motors has reportedly delayed a board meeting that was to decide the fate of its loss-making Saab unit today, as a new bidder has emerged onto the scene. GM had already postponed Saab’s fate by dropping a self-imposed December 31st deadline in favor of a January 7th one. Now it is giving Spyker, as well as the new bidder, Genii Capital, one more day.
Genii Capital, a private equity firm, recently made headlines when it took a majority stake in Renault’s Formula One team. The asset-rich private-equity firm is reportedly preparing a cash offer, in direct response to GM CEO Ed Whitacre’s comments that interested parties had best be able to back up their offers with cash. ““It’s real easy,” he said, “show up with the money and you can have it.”
Genii spokesman Lars Carlstroem said that, “Saab is a strong brand on the same level as Porsche and BMW.” He also outlined a plan to restore Saab to profitability. It would work much in the way that the original Koenigsegg (a previous bidder) plan would, selling fewer, more premium vehicles at a high price point.
If a deal does go through tomorrow (with either Spyker or Genii), then Saab is poised to re-start production as early as January 11th. If not, it is expected that GM will begin winding down the Saab division, eliminating thousands of jobs in Sweden and in the U.S., where Saab has over 200 dealerships.