Apologies, my dear friends and TV rights payers, for neglecting my updates for so long but it’s been a busy time. Especially that Saab business cost me a lot more time than expected.
Many people asked me what on Earth I spent all that time for. Why would anyone would want to buy an ailing car manufacturer these days? Good question. I can’t really explain it. There’s very little to gain, aside from the fact that just about every car brand owner in the world sooner or later receives a Knighthood. I’m kidding, of course. (I bet you are – ed.)
It all started out over coffee with my old friend Gerard Lopez. Gerard’s a money man, which makes him a friend by definition. But for Gerard I have even greater respect than usual. I mean, this is the bloke who explained to me that he made most of his money by being an early investor in some Mickey Mouse phone company that gives away its services for free. By the name of Spike, or something like that. Beats me. Ends up selling it for a couple of billion to some auction company, which beats me too. Couple of billion! For a couple of hundred thousand dollar investment! Which is a couple of hundred thousand more than I ever invested in F1 and it made me billions too, but still.
Ergo, I have great respect for Gerard, and anything he comes up with. Plus he’s just bought the Renault team with that Luxemburg investment vehicle of his, which makes him a customer too. And with Bernie, the customer’s King.
So Gerard tells me that Saab’s basically up for grabs, no questions asked. Plus there’s a loan offer on the table from the European Investment Bank for anyone who buys it. Plus GM’s already developed the next model lineup, the factory’s all geared up to start production, so all we need to invest is the due diligence costs and Bob’s your uncle. Bada bing, we’re owners of one of the most respected car brands in the world.
And we would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those bloody Dutchmen. The Spyker boys had come up with the same idea, and beaten us to it. Normally this wouldn’t’ve been a problem, we can beat the crap out of those opportunistic buggers any time, hands down. I know Spyker from their short stint as F1 team owners. Bunch of bloody amateurs. Just look at the tasteful cars they make, in their bloody Dutch bloody national colours. ‘Nuff said.
Thing is, before we got to GM this Spyker moron Victor Muller had been peppering them for weeks with emails, Powerpoints, and God knows what, one ludicrous argument after another. Plus they keep saying they have this mysterious Russian investor who doesn’t want his name in the paper. So by the time we got there, Ed “I just stepped in temporarily and I don’t want anything complicated on my plate” Whitacre had had enough of the whole thing and wouldn’t seriously listen to anyone any more. It was like talking to a brick wall. “Listen Bernie,” he said. “If there’s anything in there you really want, why don’t you talk to the liquidators? I’m about to appoint them, get the whole thing off my plate. Much easier that way.”
Gerard’s still enthousiastic, says there’s gold under them thar hills, but me, I’m not so sure any more.