General Motors finally unloads Saab
According too Reuters, Swedish television is reporting that Swedish luxury carmaker, Koenigsegg, and Norwegian investors have signed a letter of intent to buy the money-losing automaker. The investors beat out rivals including U.S.-based The Renco Group and Merbanco Inc. The deal may take several months to close (for reasons the article does not make clear).
Saab, which owes about $1.36 billion, has struggled in the U.S. market like its competitors as the economy soured. U.S. sales for the automaker plunged more than 62 percent in May as cash-strapped buyers purchased cheaper models, acquired used cars or decided to hold onto their existing vehicles.
It certainly is a buyers' market for car companies. GM put the Swedish unit up for sale earlier this year.
Earlier this month, GM agreed to sell its gas-guzzling Hummer division to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., a little known Chinese maker of heavy equipment who some in the Chinese press have speculated will have difficulty in closing the deal. The automaker this week agreed to sell its Saturn business to Roger Penske, owner of the second-largest auto dealer network and a well-known figure in auto racing. No clear buyer has emerged for Pontiac, another well-known brand GM plans to shutter.
Magna International Inc., which supplies everything from automotive interiors to chassis systems, is planning to acquire GM's European units Vauxhall and Opel. Officials in the U.K., where Vauxhall is based, seem especially worried about the plans of the Canadian company.
"Workers are concerned that Magna will close the unit's two U.K. plants after Germany agreed to rescue Opel by providing bridge loans to ease a sale and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown failed to commit any money," according to Bloomberg News.
Amazing how hard these companies are fighting to be part of a business which observers say is at multi-decade lows and, at least in the U.S., may not recapture its former glory for years, if ever.