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Billionaire Bernie on Saab trail

On the block: Saab's new 9-5 might yet see the light of day if a bid by F1's Bernie Ecclestone with venture capital company Genii comes off.

F1’s Ecclestone confirms he is looking at buying Saab with venture capitalist

8 Jan 2010

FORMULA One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has emerged as a last-ditch bidder for Swedish car brand Saab in partnership with a Luxembourg-based capital investment company, Genii Capital.

Speaking with the Bloomberg news service, Mr Ecclestone, 79, confirmed he was putting a bid together with Genii for Saab, which faces imminent closure if owner General Motors can’t get a significant offer in the next few days.

GM has again postponed its final decision on the company until it can digest the Genii offer and a new proposal from Dutch niche sportscar-maker Spyker.

However, GM chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre said earlier this week that he was not confident that Saab could be saved, as no company with the necessary investment backing had stepped up to the plate.

The Genii Capital/Ecclestone bid is reported to be fronted by a Swedish group, using a business plan based on a previous bid by Swedish supercar-maker Koenigsegg.

That bid was withdrawn when Koenigsegg failed to get the necessary financial backing in time to pull it off.

There are also reports of another Swedish bid, headed by a former CEO of truck-maker Man AG.

Genii Capital said in a statement that it would “aggressively work towards a successful closing of the transaction with all the relevant stakeholders of the company”, Bloomberg reported.

About 3000 jobs at Saab are hanging on the decision by GM, along with hundreds of more in dealerships around the world.

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