NOW WELL PAST the January 7 deadline for potential buyers to enter final bids, GM and niche sports carmaker Spyker are reportedly nearing a deal for the sale of Saab.
According to the Financial Times, sources close to the negotiations have said that a preliminary agreement could come this week, but that a number of complications were still to be worked out before a final announcement could be made.
A recent report by Bloomberg claimed that, despite overtures from the Bernie Ecclestone-lead Genii group, Spyker is believed to be the only bidder still in the running for Saab.
Sources for Bloomberg said that Spyker's bid includes US$75 million in cash, along with US$325 million in preferred shares in the new Saab. If GM accepts the deal, it is also expected to keep US$100 million of Saab's existing liquidity.
The report's sources added that GM is only likely to sell to Spyker if Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov - Spyker's current chairm and major investor - exits the company.
Unusually, a spokesperson for Genii said that it remains interested in Saab, but that it acknowledges Spyker as the current favourite.
???We have worked hard, unfortunately time was not on our side,??? Genii's Lars Carlstroem told Bloomberg.
???We are pleased to hear about Victor [Muller, Spyker CEO] and his attempt to buy Saab. He???ll be a perfect owner for Saab going into the future.???
Despite the continued negotiations, GM began winding down Saab operations last month, with GM boss Ed Whitacre saying, ahead of Spyker's final bid, that a sale is unlikely. While Spyker appears to still be in the running, there has been no word on GM halting the wind-down process.