GM Reaches Deal to Sell Saab to Spyker

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General Motors has reached a deal to sell its Saab division to Dutch automaker, Spyker Cars NV, the companies announced today.

Spyker will pay $74 million in cash for the Swedish automaker and issue $326 million worth of stock to the Detroit automaker. The offer is backed by a $556 million loan guarantee from the European Investment Bank that will go toward restructuring the company.

GM will continue to provide some powertrains, as well as the Mexican-built Saab 9-4x crossover for the forseeable future. It will also will maintain responsibility for waranty service to current owners until the transition is fully complete.

Trading of Spyker shares was suspended Tuesday in Amsterdam in anticipation of the deal being finalized.

Spyker's shares leapt 70 percent Monday on speculation about the Saab deal.

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The sale of Saab is part of GM's restructuring plan as it tries to recover from last year's short stay under U.S. bankruptcy protection. The company is dumping the Saturn and Pontiac brands and is trying to sell Hummer to a Chinese heavy equipment maker. It wants to focus on four core brands: Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac.

GM had begun winding Saab down, though its 3,400 employees were not yet laid off.

Money for the deal to buy Saab could is expected to come from Spyker's largest shareholder, Russia's Conversbank Financial Group, or other shareholders. It would also likely involve a large loan from the European Investment Bank, backed by the government of Sweden.

Spyker's shares have been rising since its Chairman Victor Muller first began a public campaign wooing GM in early December.

Saab Automobile sold around 90,000 cars in 2008, a 30 percent decline from 2007. With another sharp sales decline expected, it filed for protection from creditors while it reorganized in February 2009.

Saab's U.S. sales last year amounted to only 8,680, down 59 percent from 2008 as consumers stayed away from the brand due to uncertainty over its future.

GM filed for bankruptcy itself in June and previous attempts to sell Saab by a Dec. 31 deadline failed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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