Hopes that GM [GM.UL] unit Saab will find a buyer rose on Friday after new bidders joined the race, just before a deadline expired. [ID:nLDE6070TP]
Formula One motor racing boss Bernie Ecclestone is part of a bid to buy the struggling Swedish carmaker.
GM has been trying to sell Saab for a year, and a deadline for bids expired overnight with reports that at least three were submitted, including one from small Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker.
The 60-year-old Swedish auto brand may be wound down if GM cannot find a buyer. Such a move would eliminate 3,400 jobs in Sweden and hit 1,100 Saab dealers. Sweden has said it would allot 542 million Swedish crowns ($75 million) to measures, mainly for education and job schemes, to help deal with the thousands of jobs set to disappear if Saab was shut down.
Here are some key facts about current and former bidders:
* LATEST BIDDER:
-- Formula One motor racing boss Bernie Ecclestone joined forces with Luxembourg-based private investment company Genii Capital, which recently invested in Renault's (RENA.PA) Formula 1 team, in a bid to buy SAAB.
-- Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker submitted an improved bid for Sweden's Saab to General Motors Co. on Jan. 7, 2010.
-- It had first said on Dec. 2, 2009, that it was interested in SAAB.
-- It submitted a renewed offer two days after last-ditch talks with GM on Dec. 20 which included an 11-point proposal addressing issues that arose during the due diligence process.
-- Its primary backers include Russian banking tycoon Vladimir Antonov and his Convers Group.
-- Spyker's bid to buy Saab has faced scepticism from the start given that the Dutch company has never made a profit.
-- Chinese state-run company Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings (BAIC) inked a deal to take a minority stake in Koenigsegg as part of the deal to buy Saab on Sept. 9.
-- It had to review its options after its consortium, led by tiny Swedish luxury car maker Koenigsegg, pulled out of talks to buy SAAB.
-- BAIC, China's fifth-largest automaker, announced last month it will buy the intellectual property for Saab's 9-5 and 9-3 sedans and some equipment to make them for an undisclosed sum.
-- Sweden's Koenigsegg, a niche manufacturer of some of the world's fastest and most expensive sports cars, struck a deal to buy Saab last August.
-- The deal included an expected $600 million of financing from the European Investment Bank, guaranteed by the Swedish government.
-- It agreed terms with GM to purchase Saab, though the deal was not yet fully funded. It was hoping for a 4.3 billion Swedish crown ($778 million) loan to Saab from the European Investment Bank in addition to that, 3 billion crowns of financing were still missing.
-- It entered into an agreement with state-run BAIC under which BAIC took a minority stake in Koenigsegg as part of the Swedish luxury carmaker's purchase of SAAB.
-- It pulled out of talks to buy SAAB on Nov. 24.
* RENCO:-- U.S. financier Ira Rennert and his Renco Group had also expressed an interest in pursuing a deal with GM to buy SAAB. Renco Group is a privately owned holding company with affiliated operating companies in a variety of industries, including mining, mineral recovery, automotive assembly and fleet support. Includes AM General which produces the Humvee and Hummer.
* JAN NYGREN
-- Swedish media reports on Friday named Jan Nygren, an ex executive of the aerospace arm of Saab and former senior defence ministry official as the head of a group of Swedish investors submitting a bid for Saab.
(Writing by Carl Bagh, Bangalore Editorial Reference Unit; Additional writing and editing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Sharon Lindores)