Times must be good again. Rarely has the bidding for a down and out automaker been so hot as for distressed Ssangyong in Korea. Today was the deadline for putting in binding for a majority stake in the sorry little thing. Two of the six presumptive bidders did a cop-out.
Ssangyong has been under court-led bankruptcy protection since early 2009. Today, at 0600 Zulu the bids had to be in. No messing around like with Opel in Berlin, there are Korean courts involved.
South Korean private equity fund Seoul Invest and a group led by Renault SA did not place their chips.
Seoul Invest said the outstanding debt is too high. Renault griped about the price.
The Nikkei [sub] confirmed that Daewoo Bus, a South Korean bus and fork-lift maker, did submit a bid. India’s Mahindra & Mahindra and Indian conglomerate Ruia Group had said they planned to submit a bid by the deadline. After the deadline passed, both companies said “no comment” for confidentiality reasons. So did they or not?
There was a previous bidding round in June where Mahindra & Mahindra, Ruia, Daewoo Bus, Seoul Invest, Renault/Nissan and a mystery buyer places bets – too low.
Word on the street is that bidders want to pay between $340m and $428m, but that the company insists on more than $630m, that’s what they owe to banks and suppliers.
Ssangyong wants to whittle the field down to one or two preferred bidders in August, with the deal hopefully be closed in October.