By on June 16, 2009

This morning, bankrupt automaker General Motors, their failed SAAB subsidiary, low-volume independent automaker Koenigsegg, and the Swedish government signed a deal for Saab’s future. Oh yeah, and some guy named Mark Bishop, an “American investor.” Who he? Can you say “junk bonds” and “sub-prime”? But before we look at Bishop’s CV, let’s break this deal down to its constituent parts . . .

Through his company Alpraaz, Christian von Koenigsegg will have a 42.6 percent stake in the newly reformed Saab. American investor Mark Bishop will hold a 22.2 percent share. Norwegian designer, industrial engineer and inventor Bård Eker will have 11.8 percent. The remaining 23.4 percent will be held by Koenigsegg Automotive AB, which again is co-owned by Eker and Koenigsegg, split equally.

OK, so, money man Mark Bishop was once a VP at Drexel Burnham Lambert—or so he says in every web res I found. Even if true, it tells you a lot about Bishop that he’s boasting about his time with the bankrupt Burnham boys, who pleaded no lo contendre moments before a grand jury was going to hand out a RICO indictment.

After that debacle, Bishop co-founded the now-defunct Brentwood Financial Group, “managing the bulk purchase, and subsequent pooling and sales of conforming and non-conforming residential mortgage loans on a national scale.” He then assumed the Presidency of IMPAC Mortgage Acceptance Corporation (more “non-conforming residential loans”). Bishop leveraged that experience to become President of sub-prime lender Novelle Financial Services.

Bishop’s now Managing Director of Liquiddium, a self-professed “leading private equity company that concentrates on “creative real estate transactions in select markets throughout the United States.” “Creative” as in specializing in real estate deals gone bad. “Creative” as in based in Malibu. “Creative” as in “properties are acquired on an all-cash basis as well as with the use of leverage.” At the same time, Bishop’s the MD and CEO of ABS Investment Group, selling residential mortgage-backed securities.

In short, the guy is up to his eyeballs in predatory lending and re-packaging of same. Now that CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) are a no go, Bishop’s moved on. However he insinuated himself into this deal (a story I’d dearly love to hear), Bishop’s goal is clear: strip and flip Saab using Swedish government money.

Bishop’s appearance on the post-C11 Saab scene is not a good sign for the brand. In fact, it could be a potential deal-breaker for the Swedish government, once this info gets out. Look for Bishop to get the old heave-ho. And not a moment too soon. In fact, what the hell were these guys thinking?

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11 Comments on “The CDO Magnate Behind New Saab...”


  • avatar
    snabster

    I seriously doubt SAAB has enough assets to strip. One factory? No engine plant. How much is that factory worth — 50 million tops.

    saabsunited.com has a better discussion on the background of bishop. cdo are a long way from stripping assets.

  • avatar

    There are lots of ways Bishop could suck money out of this deal, none of them attractive.

    [BTW: There appears to be some doubt about if it’s THIS Mark Bishop involved. Our sources say yes.]

  • avatar
    grog

    On the plus side, this isn’t happening to us. For once, let this kind of “brain drain” leave our shores.

    On the negative side, Saab never did anything bad to us (well, if you discount exporting cars with lousy reliability but if we held everybody to that standard, nobody would be safe) so why inflict this kind of sleaze ball, scumbag ne’er do well on em?

  • avatar
    bill h.

    Saabhistory.com has a translated Swedish news article that makes only brief reference to Bishop; instead it talks about someone else named Augie Fabela as providing some of the financial backing.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Maybe he is a car guy who wants to bring back the 92?

  • avatar

    Augie Fabela is “CEO of Koenigsegg USA” and made his money founding the first mobile operator in Russia and then floating it on the NYSE. Last year he was on the Forbes list of billionaires.

  • avatar
    mpls244

    This is raving paranoia which doesn’t even make sense at first glance. As noted above, there is nothing currently available to strip. Second, the guaranteed loans from the EIB are targeted specifically at the costs of getting production started on the new 9-5 (nothing to strip there either). Third, Bishop is a minority shareholder, the big two shareholders are Eker and von Koenigsegg. In paticular von Koenigsegg’s credibility is on the line in his own country, not to mention in the automotive world. There’s no way these two people would knowingly be a party to a strip-and-flip scenario.

    It’s also likely that Bishop is fronting for another deep pocket. Someone reclusive who does not wish his or her name to be known. Given the capital needs of developing new models, a 22 percent equity stake implies a commitment to contribute as much as several hundred million dollars — and to make that commitment, an investor would have to be worth several billion dollars. Bishop’s CV looks like that of a deal-maker, not a principal worth several billion.

    And lastly, the way to squeeze money out of this deal is transactional fees, not equity ownership.

    The “strip-and-flip” scenario is patently ludicrous. The more rational concern is whether these people have enough capital to see Saab through the next five years.

  • avatar
    kid cassady

    This reeks of sensationalism and rampant speculation. Are we to believe Bishop (if that is his real name), at 22.2 percent of the buying consortium, has a plan to edge out the other 77.8 percent, spit in the face of the Swedish government who is backing the loans to put the 9-5 into production, and strip the company’s limited assets?

  • avatar
    bunkie

    “There are lots of ways Bishop could suck money out of this deal, none of them attractive.”

    And they would be?

  • avatar
    bill h.

    “This reeks of sensationalism and rampant speculation.”

    Well, “calling it as we see it” doesn’t always preclude that. Good call.

  • avatar
    CPTG

    For me, its personal. In 1992, I got hit walking in the cross walk by a Saab that blew the light. I broke my leg in several pieces and, although healed, I have been ‘Saabing’ quietly ever since.

    Saab, as a car company, is a bit of a joke. It’s one factory (more like a fancy coach builder) that doesn’t even produce its own engines/transmissions!!! What is more of a joke is investment companies running car companies—Cyberus has done a smash-up job running Chrysler (into the ground), why not ABS on a smaller scale?

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