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June 17, 2009 3:34 PM

Skadden, Swedish Firms Speed Sale of GM's Saab Unit

Posted by Brian Baxter

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and several European law firms have landed lead advisory roles on the proposed sale by General Motors of its Saab Automobile unit to a consortium led by Sweden's Koenigsegg Group.

Am Law Daily sibling publication Legal Week reports that Skadden's Pranav Trivedi, a corporate finance and cross border M&A partner in London, served as international counsel to Koenigsegg on the deal. Local counsel is being provided by Tomas Rudenstam, a corporate partner with Swedish firm Lindahl in Stockholm.

As with similar sales of its Hummer and Saturn brands in recent weeks, GM agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Koenigsegg to close a deal at some point in the future. Terms of the Saab Auto transaction were not disclosed, but Koenigsegg's acquisition is backed by $600 million in financing from the European Investment Bank that will be guaranteed by the Swedish government.

Saab Auto, based in Trollhättan, filed for bankruptcy in a Swedish district court in February after financial problems brought parent GM to its knees. Scandinavian firm Roschier is advising Saab Auto on its restructuring. Guy Lofalk, a former partner at now-defunct Coudert Brothers who founded Swedish bankruptcy boutique Lofalk Advokatbyrå, is serving as court-appointed administrator to the company.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Saab Auto will ask the Swedish court on Wednesday to slash its $1.34 billion debt load as part of a reorganization plan that will include it being sold to Koenigsegg. (Saab Auto should not be confused with Stockholm-based Saab AB, a separate Swedish company that manufactures aerospace and weapons defense systems.)

Swedish firm Hammarskioeld & Co. took the lead for GM on the Saab Auto sale. Legal Week reports that senior partner Peder Hammarskioeld and M&A partner Carl-Johan Deuschl led a team from the firm.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Clifford Chance have been handling GM Europe's restructuring efforts. The divestiture of GM's Opel and Hummer brands saw other firms such as Baker & McKenzie, Jenner & Block, and German firm Gleiss Lutz nab lead advisory roles for the bankrupt auto giant.

A Saab Auto spokeswoman says that the company relied on its in-house lawyers during the negotiations between GM and the Koenigsegg-led consortium, other members of which include San Diego-based Mark Bishop and Norway's Eker Group.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. If completed, it will drastically revamp the operations of Ängelholm-based Koenigsegg, which in the past has focused on producing custom-built cars for high-end clients.

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Sell Saab, sounds like give away Saab, plus give money. Stupid comes to mind. Fake bankruptcy, loss of billions, lets jump right back on where we lost the most money. Guess the new limos ordered by our goverment will be strech vipers. We gonna loose alot more money before the REAL bankruptcies begin. Great gas millage, so good for per passeneger MPG. Let;s make the Viper model first, it is really fast, everyone will want one.

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