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Spyker said to be General Motors' only candidate to buy Saab

Wed, 06 Jan 2010 00:00:00 -0800

Spyker Cars NV is the only buyer under consideration for the Saab brand and is seeking to line up funding that will satisfy General Motors Co., a person with direct knowledge of the situation said.

Financing has been a main obstacle to a deal, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information isn't public. The proposal from Spyker, a Dutch sports car maker, had included a Russian partner that GM rejected, and Spyker was seeking to arrange financing that didn't include that partner, the person said. The person declined to be more specific about the Russian entity.

Spyker has been bidding for Saab after GM said last month it would wind down its money-losing Swedish brand after two decades of control.

Saab said last week that GM had extended a deadline to accept additional bids and that several potential buyers had come forward. A Saab spokesman last week would only name Spyker as a candidate, although media reports have also pointed to Merbanco Inc., a Wyoming-based group.

Spyker has until late Thursday to submit its revised bid, the source said Wednesday, and GM will probably issue a statement on Friday saying whether bids are still under consideration.

The Saab board meets that day to take the first steps toward liquidation, but a sale could still happen after those initial steps, the person said.

Spyker's persistence has boosted its credibility with GM, the person said.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson declined to comment on any negotiations. A spokesman for Spyker couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

GM put Saab up for sale a year ago in an effort to unload assets and avoid a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg Group AB had agreed to buy Saab but canceled the deal in November, four months after GM emerged from bankruptcy.

Reuters contributed to this report.

By Chrissie Thompson- Automotive News