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.
â€œWe have worked hard, unfortunately time was not on our side,â€ Genii's Lars Carlstroem told Bloomberg.
â€œWe are pleased to hear about Victor [Muller, Spyker CEO] and his attempt to buy Saab. Heâ€™ll be a perfect owner for Saab going into the future.â€
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.