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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Spyker Said to Be Lone Remaining Bidder for GM Unit

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Spyker Said to Be Lone Remaining Bidder for GM Unit (Update3)

By Serena Saitto, Jeff Green and Ola Kinnander

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Dutch supercar maker Spyker Cars NV is the lone remaining bidder being considered for General Motors Co.’s Saab Automobile unit, said two people close to the situation.

GM will probably decide whether to continue sale talks or liquidate Saab by Jan. 18, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public.

Saab is among four brands, along with Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer, that the Detroit-based automaker is unloading to focus on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac in the U.S. after its bankruptcy exit on July 10.

Spyker has offered GM $75 million in cash and $325 million in preferred shares in the new company that would emerge from the transaction, said two people. GM would also keep $100 million of Saab’s existing liquidity, said the people. The details of the bid may change, two people said.

Spyker expects the purchase of Saab will be decided within a matter of days, Dutch newspaper AD reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Victor Muller.

“Discussions between Spyker and GM are ongoing,” Spyker spokesman Mike Stainton said in an interview today. “I’m not aware that anything has changed in the last few days.”

GM is considering bids for Saab while “we continue to wind down the company,” Chris Preuss, a spokesman, said yesterday. He declined to comment on details of the bids, including how many were under consideration.

Genii Capital

Other bidders for Saab have included Genii Capital, the private-equity firm that teamed up with Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone; a group headed by Jan Nygren, a former Swedish deputy prime minister; and a Wyoming-based investor group led by Merbanco Inc. President Chris Johnston.

Genii still expects to enter talks with GM next week, one of its partners said yesterday.

“Genii remains committed and is still financially strong and should be able to deliver an even stronger bid to GM, with even more cash up front,” Lars Carlstroem, the Swedish investor working with Luxembourg-based Genii, said by telephone today. “We expect a dialogue with GM early next week.”

GM would sell to Spyker only on the condition that Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, the chairman and biggest investor in the Zeewolde, Netherlands-based sports-car maker, exit the company, said one of the people. The other outstanding issue GM is evaluating is whether Saab has a future as a stand-alone company with sales volume of about 100,000 vehicles a year, the person said. Spyker spokesman Stainton said Antonov wasn’t available for comment.

Board Disbanded

Saab began in 1938 by making warplanes before it turned to making cars after World War II. Saab Chief Executive Officer Jan-Aake Jonsson handed over power to liquidators on Jan. 12 and the board was disbanded. The Swedish Companies Registration Office named GM nominees AlixPartners LLP Managing Director Stephen Taylor and Peter Toerngren of Swedish law firm Toerngren Magnell, to supervise the wind-down.

Swedish sports-car maker Koenigsegg Group AB, backed by Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., walked away from a deal to buy Saab in November.

Beijing Auto later paid $200 million to buy some automotive technology from Saab to use in its own vehicles.

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