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Formula 1 Boss in for Saab

Published fredag 8 januari 2010 kl 09.09
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone, the boss of Formula One, has teamed up with a Luxembourg private investment company Genii Capital in a last minute rescue bid to buy Saab, according to the BBC. The company believes Saab has "tremendous brand value in a number of key automotive markets, as well as an innovative image."

General Motors, which owns Saab, set an 11pm Thursday deadline (Swedish time) for any bidders to come forward. It's understood that GM will hold a committee meeting today while in Trollhättan in Sweden, at Saab's main headquarters, the board there will also meet.

GM extended a deadline to consider offers for Saab last month after Dutch sportscar maker Spyker approached the US automaker with a last ditch proposal. After that proposal was rejected, Spyker came back with another bid late on Thursday.

"Spyker Cars today has made a revised offer to General Motors for the acquisition of Saab Automobile A.B.," Victor Muller said in a statement.

Relating to the bid by Genii Capital involving Bernie Ecclestone, according to the BBC, Ecclestone told the Bloomberg news agency of his interest in Saab: "It's a good brand that has probably been neglected by the current owners."

"We don't own it yet so lets see what happens."

Genii said that it would "aggressively work towards a successful closing of the transaction with all the relevant stakeholders of the company".

Genii already has links with Ecclestone after it last month bought a stake in the Renault Formula One team, allowing the team to remain in the sport.

GM will review the Spyker bid, and potentially one from Genii Capital as well as talk with the Swedish government about possible financing. But according to AFP news wires, which spoke with an insider at GM, the American motor giant will proceed with phasing out Saab. A final decision could come early next week, the person said. GM, according to the person, questions whether Spyker has the expertise to run Saab. GM likely would have to continue producing vehicles for a new buyer and would essentially be a partner with the company.

Saab's board, which is controlled by GM, is expected on Friday to begin legal steps to liquidate the company, the person told AFP.

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