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Formula One boss makes last-minute bid for Saab

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-08

Britain's Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is to launch a last-minute bid for struggling Swedish carmaker Saab in a partnership with a Luxembourg-based investment firm, Genii Capital.

AFP - Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has teamed up with a Luxembourg investment firm to launch a last-minute rescue bid for Swedish carmaker Saab.

Genii Capital announced its "interest in making an offer for the acquisition of a majority stake in Saab SAS in a partnership with Mr Bernard Ecclestone," in a statement just as the deadline for final bids for Saab expired at 2200 GMT Thursday.

The privately-held firm said it would "aggressively work towards a successful closing of the transaction with all the relevant stakeholders of the company."

Saab has "tremendous brand value in a number of key automotive markets, as well as an innovative image," it underlined.

Saying it had been "brought into the bidding process at a late stage by advisors close to the deal," Genii is angling its offer around high-end on-board entertainment systems.

It said it wanted to work on "synergies with some of its portfolio companies in the areas of energy efficient engines, OEM (computing) components and on-board IT and media technologies."

The bid focused on on "technologies that enable use (of) on-demand systems as well as innovative communications platforms such as VOIP (speech-based communications over the Internet) and GPS location-based services."

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.

US carmaker General Motors announced in December it would wind up Saab, which employs 3,400 people in Sweden.

However GM extended a deadline to consider offers for Saab after Dutch sports car maker Spyker approached the US automaker with a last-ditch proposal.

Spyker chief executive officer Victor Muller said on Thursday it would submit a definitive, updated bid for Saab.

Saab is one of four storied brands that GM is shedding as part of a massive restructuring effort that began in 2005 and accelerated last year when the largest US automaker went bankrupt.

Analysts have warned that some 8,000 jobs could be lost with Saab's closure.

Date created : 2010-01-08