GM says it has had "close dialogue and close contact" with several interested parties
30 November 2009

General Motors has had "close dialogue and close contact" with several parties interested in buying Saab, according to a company spokesman.

GM's proposed sale of Saab to Koenigsegg collapsed last week and Beijing Automotive (BAIC) and Wyoming-based merchant bank Merbanco are believed to be among the parties interested.

"We can confirm that we have heard from different investors," a GM spokesman told Automotive News, without revealing any of the interested parties. "We have a close dialogue and close contact with several who have expressed interest in buying Saab Automobile.

"It is not so surprising, given that there were 27 parties who were interested [when Saab was first up for sale] and 10 who came and looked the company over in April and May."

Saab faces closure if a deal cannot be struck to sell it to another party. When GM's sale of its Saturn brand to Penske fell through, the brand was wound up and Saab could face a similar fete.

BAIC is China's tenth largest manufacturer and was due to take a stake in Saab as part of the Koenigsegg deal, but a GM-BAIC deal is likely to come attached with intellectual property rights issues.

Merbanco CEO Chris Johnston told Reuters that his firm had not held any talks with GM since the Koenigsegg deal collapsed, but he is keen to strike a quick deal rather than be involved in a long, drawn out process.

"We are interested, definitely," he said. "Are we interested in a six-month odyssey? Not really. It's a great brand and a terrific company. It's got great management."

GM's board is due to meet this week to discuss the future of Saab.

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