In December 2011, Saab was forced into bankruptcy
when pending deals between its parent, Swedish Automobile (Swan), and Chinese suitors Pang Da and Youngman fell apart. The sticking point was GM, whose preferred shares of stock allowed the automaker to shoot down a deal between Swan and the Chinese
GM’s concern was that its technology was too deeply embedded into Saab’s products, and selling to Pang Da and Youngman
would impact GM’s position with existing Chinese partners (such as SAIC).
In the week’s since, the process of dismembering Saab has begun. The cars in its museum have been catalogued for sale
, with proceeds going to fund operations during shutdown. Parts of Saab’s business is about to be sold to engineering firm Semcon, and soon Saab will be nothing more than a collection of assets.
Now comes word from Automotive News Europe
(subscription required) that Youngman may make one more attempt to purchase Saab, with a bid coming next week. It’s unclear how Youngman intends to get around GM’s objections, but Youngman’s attorney has stated that the Chinese company would develop it own technology to replace GM’s.
If the deal between Saab and Semcon is far enough along, it may already be too late for Youngman to intervene. Further complicating matters is that Saab’s receivers haven’t fully clarified which assets are for sale, which will clearly need sorting before any agreement with Youngman can proceed.
Even if Youngman is successful with its bid, the deal would likely require approval from the Chinese government, who seemed to be in no rush to approve previous contracts between Saab
and Chinese companies. Calling this latest rumor a long shot seems a bit optimistic from our perspective.