Home > News > NEWS: Reports say that Saab deal could have been done earlier but…

NEWS: Reports say that Saab deal could have been done earlier but…


The short of it is, Spyker could have had the keys to Saab earlier, if not for the Swedish government’s suspicion of the group’s ties with another company who have been linked by intelligence agencies to the Russian mafia!

Yes. that IS an actual full-sized shuttle on it's back

Heard of Antonov before? Well, if you’re the only person at the bookshop standing in front of the aircraft section or have found yourself paying the nonsensical $100 a day parking fee at the Singapore Airshow 2010, then the word Antonov probably means something.

These guys made the largest plane known to man with the aircraft spanning the length of a football field from the nose to the end and having six, instead of the boring normal four engines, each pushing out 51,590 pounds of thrust! It was called the AN-225 and it was the epitome of the “upsizing” mentality that seemed to be popular with the Soviet Union while it existed. For more information about the aircraft you guys should be heading this way.

Back to the Saab sale though, it’s suspected that during it’s Initial Public Offering back in 2004, the Convers Group, a Russian bank controlled by the Antonov family, had bought a 29% stake in the Dutch company.

So while Spyker started talks with GM, the Swedish monetary agency and security police carried out some pretty intensive investigations over reports of the Russian family being involved in organised crime and money laundering.

Turns out even the FBI were keeping close tabs on the family. So naturally General Motors deemed the deal ‘unfit’ and ended all talk with the Dutch supercar manufacturer, saying that they’d have to cut all ties with the Antonov family before proposing for a buyout again.

And that’s exactly what they did. They got Dutch billionaire Marcel Boekhoorn to take over the Russian’s stake in the company and at the same time the company’s founder, Victor Muller, got a newly-established investment company to finance the whole deal.

After all these months of back to back corporate ping pong, the water still sits murky with all the dealings between Spyker, the investment company and GM kept strictly confidential. Mr Muller even refused to say who his backers from the investment company were.

I for one still don’t see how a debt-ridden supercar company running on fumes can possibly get Saab back on it’s feet. When news hit that Spyker was in the running to acquire Saab, the supercar company’s share prices swelled by 70% earlier last month. Since then it’s fallen back to where it started, at 3.6 Euros.

EDIT: There are varying stories out about who purchased Antonov’s stake in the company out currently but it should be safe to assume the family linked to the Russian mafia is out of Spyker. Then again, its tricky with the mafia isn’t it? Hopefully Muller won’t find himself uttering (say it together with some Italian gusto now!) “just when I thought we were out, they pulled me back in”.

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