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GM Said to Be Close to Announcing Saab Sale to Spyker

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GM Said to Be Close to Announcing Saab Sale to Spyker (Update1)

By Jeff Green

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. is close to announcing a deal to sell its Saab division to Spyker Cars NV, said a person familiar with the negotiations.

An announcement may be made as early as late afternoon in Sweden after an agreement is final, said the person, who asked not to be identified before an official press release. Spyker shares were suspended in Amsterdam trading at 1:45 p.m. local time.

Spyker, led by Chief Executive Officer Victor Muller, has offered GM about $75 million in cash and $325 million in preferred shares in the company that would emerge from the transaction, people familiar with the matter said last week. GM would get $100 million of Saab’s existing liquidity, they have said.

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. Saab’s main factory in Trollhaettan in southwestern Sweden employs about 3,500 workers.

Muller couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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

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 car technology from Saab to use in its own vehicles.

Spyker shares last traded at 3.91 euros, valuing the company at 84.8 million euros ($120 million). The stock is suspended until further notice and pending a press release, Dutch securities regulator AFM said in a statement on its Web site.



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