TROLLHATTAN, Sweden -- General Motors will choose two to three preferred bidders for its Saab brand this week, industry sources tell Automotive News Europe
The sources would not say which bidders have the best chance to make it to the next round of talks.
When asked for comment, Saab spokesman Eric Geers declined say how many bidders would be left by next week.
“The number of bidders will be reduced to a few very soon. We want to work with fewer companies so we can have more detailed negotiations,” he said. “We expect a deal to be in place by early summer.”
GM is examining proposals from about 10 bidders for tits Saab brand and has attracted interested from Chinese automakers such as Geely, Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg , European investor groups and private equity firms, according to media reports.
Sweden's government on Monday confirmed it has been in contact with Fiat S.p.A. regarding Saab but would not disclose any details.
Fiat is negotiating with GM to merge GM's European operations including Opel and Saab into a new company.
The Saab sale is being run independent of GM's efforts to sell other European assets, a source told Reuters.
GM and advisors Deutsche Bank will choose the preferred bidders.
Saab's management in Sweden and the Swedish government will help decide which bidder will get to buy the automaker.
The Swedish government is involved because it is being asked to provide loan guarantees of 600 million euros so Saab can obtain money from the European Investment Bank.
Saab managers told ANE that the ideal candidate to take over Saab will have: a long-term business plan, enough cash to support Saab in the future, a desire to keep manufacturing in Sweden.
Saab won more time to restructure in early April when a Swedish court extended the period of time the company is protected from creditors unitl May 20. Further extensions can be granted until February next year.
Owner GM has said it plans to cut ties to Saab by Jan. 1, 2010.
Saab's reorganization plan, submitted to court on April 6, calls for $1 billion of financing to help it overhaul production and launch new models.