Victor Muller managed to sell out to China after all. Today it was announced (full press release here) that Muller’s Spyker and former Saab suitor Youngman will form two companies. Spyker calls them “joint ventures,” but they look more like companies owned mostly by Youngman, with Spyker holding a token share.
The first company is called Spyker P2P. It will make the Spyker D8 luxury SUV (caught above by Carnewschina.) Spyker contributes the technology and the Spyker trademarks for a 25 percent share of Spyker P2P. Youngman will make a €25 million cash contribution (over time) for 75 percent of the shares. “P2P” does not stand for “pay to play” as you may assume, but for “Peking-to-Paris,” another moniker for the Spyker D8. The car is supposed to see the light in 2014, but with only 25 million in funding, it will need more money, a lot more.
The second and more interesting company is called Spyker Phoenix. According to the press release, “Youngman will contribute the rights to the Phoenix platform as developed by Saab Automobile AB in 2010/2011 to which Youngman acquired a license in 2011 as well as provide all required funding.” Youngman will hold 80 percent, Spyker will hold 20. The company “shall develop and manufacture a new full range of premium car models based on the Phoenix platform which models will be positioned higher than the comparable Saab models were. Spyker Phoenix products may be manufactured in Europe and China as the case may be.”
In addition, Youngman will invest €10 million into Spyker itself. €6.7 million buy 29.9 percent of Spyker (and hence another 6 percent of the Phoenix company and another 7.5 percent of the P2P deal,) €3.3 million will come as a shareholder loan.
How did Youngman end up with Phoenix after their advances to buy the assets of bankrupt Saab were rebuffed? Before Saab finally went bankrupt, the rights to the Phoenix platform were transferred to a Spyker-controlled special purpose vehicle, and used as collateral for a loan from Youngman that was never paid in full. When Saab went belly-up, I wrote
“I wouldn’t be surprised if a license for the PhoeniX platform won’t suddenly show up at Youngman, pledged as security for some of the money that had been paid. Then, GM will say that Phoenix IP is mostly theirs, and there will be a protracted and messy lawsuit.”
The first part of that prediction came true today. For the second part, we probably will have to wait a while, most likely until the first Phoenix cars are built, if they ever will.
Youngman will need government approval for the investment in a foreign company, and either foreign company will need government approval for joint venture production in China.