Wednesday, November 25, 2009

General Motors could close Saab next week

The latest word from General Motors Corp. in Detroit is that it could close its Saab Automobile subsidiary next week if it cannot find a new buyer after a reported deal to sell the legendary company collapsed. The troubled U.S. automaker said today that its board would meet next week to decide the fate of the 70-year-old Swedish automaker, which it bought in two parts in 1990 and 2000, according to the New York Times. GM could be forced to close the 4,000-employee company because Swedish exotic car maker Koenigsegg unexpectedly pulled out of the deal Tuesday. Koenigsegg issued a statement blaming the collapse on GM taking too long to close the deal. “The time factor has always been critical for our strategy to breathe new life into the company,” Koenigsegg said. “Unfortunately, delays in closing this acquisition have resulted in risks and uncertainties that prevent us from successfully implementing the new Saab business plan.” GM appeared surprised by Koeinsgegg's decision, Reuters said. “We negotiated in good faith and we met all our timing obligations under the agreement,” said a G.M. spokeswoman, Renee Rashid-Merem. GM chief executive Fritz Henderson said he was "very disappointed" by the failure of the Saab deal. But Henderson should not have been surprised. It is the third time in the past two months that a GM brand sale was scuttled at the last minute. Its proposed sale of its Saturn brand to Penske Automotive Group collapsed just before it was final in September, and GM pulled out of a deal to sell its Opel operations in Europe last month. GM is being forced to sell off some of its parts as it reorganizes under bankruptcy court protection.

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