Bård Eker has given an open-hearted interview to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, referred here at e24.no telling his version on the failed Saab-deal. Eker was one of the investors in the Koenigsegg Group’s bid for Saab, through his company, Eker Group – 49% owner of Koenigsegg Automotive. Here is his hindsight on the deal:
“General Motors made it very hard to buy Saab”, he says. “Saab wasn’t structured as a subordinate, it was completely swallowed into the massive GM body. And while you can remove a lung from a body, you can’t remove all the veins. And GM had not done the required separating job prior to starting negotiations with interested buyers. That was a contributing cause why things took longer time for us too”.
It also seemed Koenigsegg struggled to get GM to agree on a price for parts and components to Saab cars:
“Our mistake was to be open and frank about our business plan. In the beginning, no-one believed in it, but as time went and the plan made sense, the guys started to get greedy. GM wanted more money for their parts, and the Chinese wanted more for their money. That was the drop; greediness became so dominant we coudn’t take it any more.” Eker says to Aftenposten.
“My worries go to the 8,000 employees in western Sweden who faces unemployment. For their sake, I hope something good comes out of this,” he continues. The interview ends on a note of regret:
“The only winners here are the Chinese. I believe they got what they always wanted, and we were the regulators that prevented them from exploiting Saab, but they would have gotten their way anyway, without hurting Saab. Now it doesn’t matter anymore, for there is no Saab left to acquire.”