Spyker Buys Saab for $74 Million in Cash

2003.5 Mazda Protege5
Dutch sports car maker Spyker Cars has agreed to buy Saab from General Motors for roughly $74 million in cash, according to people familiar with the matter. GM will also receive preferred shares in the new company.

Spyker, which makes only a few dozen cars a year, will contribute $74 million in cash to the deal, while the European Investment Bank will provide a 400 million euro loan ($566 million) guaranteed by the Swedish government.

The deal would mark a hopeful turnabout for for Saab, the Swedish car brand that GM had begun to wind down because it couldnt reach a satisfactory deal to sell the company.

Upon completion of the transaction, GM will retain redeemable preference shares of $326 million in Saab. The preference shares represent less than 1% of the voting rights in the capital of Saab.

A GM spokesman could not be immediately reached.

Spyker unsuccessfully tried to reach a deal for Saab late last year and returned to the negotiating table this month. Swedish government officials previously had expressed reluctance to provide any financial backing for a Saab deal, saying the company would have to stand on its own.

Saab has total assets, including plants, equipment and cash of about 1 billion euros , and liabilities of 528 million euros.

Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller said in an interview with the WSJs Deal Journal last month that he wanted to restore the Saabish qualities that have inspired fierce loyalty among Saab owners around the world. Hundreds of Saab drivers have been staging demonstrations in Detroit and Sweden to lobby GM to sell the brand rather than let it die.

Spyker intends to change its name to Saab Spyker Automobiles.

As part of its financing package, Spyker will receive a $50 million loan from Tenaci Capital B.V., which is owned Muller. Meantime, Spykers chairman, the Russian banker Vladimir Antonov, has agreed to effectively cash out of the company and sell his shares to Tenaci.