Spyker sues GM for $3 billion over Saab bankruptcy
Dutch company Spyker is suing General Motors Co. for $3 billion on behalf of its former subsidiary Saab, accusing the U.S. automaker of deliberately driving Saab into bankruptcy by interfering with a planned deal with a Chinese investor.
Saab Automobile went bankrupt in December 2011, less than two years after GM sold it to supercar maker Spyker. The bankruptcy followed several unsuccessful attempts to attract Chinese or other investment.
GM "had it coming," Spyker CEO Victor Muller told Reuters on Monday. "They never thought we would survive. Well Spyker's still here. They assumed Spyker would end up in the graveyard with Saab and obviously that didn't happen."
Muller tried for months to pull off a rescue deal for Saab with various Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese investors, including China's Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co.
He said that the $3 billion claim was based on what Saab would have been worth if a deal with Youngman had gone ahead.
Third party funding
Spyker spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation fees preparing the case over the past six months, Muller said. Spyker's lawsuit was being funded by an anonymous third party, who will share in any settlement, he said.
GM, which operates in China in a partnership with state-run automaker SAIC Motor Corp., late last year effectively blocked deals to save Saab with Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman when the U.S. automaker said it would stop supplying vehicles and technology to Saab's new owners because it would run counter to the interests of its own shareholders.
"GM created the appearance of initially encouraging Saab to enter into a deal with Chinese investors to save the company, only later to unlawfully pull the rug out from under Saab, driving it into bankruptcy liquidation," Spyker said in its complaint, filed in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan.
"Indeed, it was GM's intent by whatever means necessary to quash any financing or investment deal that could save Saab from liquidation, because GM simply sought to eliminate Saab from competition, particularly in the Chinese automobile market," the complaint said.
GM spokesman James Cain told Reuters: "It's hard to believe. We have no comment until we see the lawsuit."
Saab was declared insolvent with debts of about 13 billion Swedish crowns ($1.8 billion), around 2.2 billion of which is owed to the Swedish Debt Office.
Following Saab's bankruptcy, bankruptcy administrators in Sweden said they had chosen a consortium called National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) to buy Saab for an undisclosed sum.
PRESS RELEASE: SPYKER FILES A THREE BILLION DOLLAR LAWSUIT AGAINST GENERAL MOTORS
Zeewolde, the Netherlands, 6 August 2012 -- Spyker N.V. (Spyker) announced that it has filed a complaint against General Motors Company ("GM") in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan today at 08.00 AM EST. Spyker filed the complaint in its own right and on behalf of its 100 percent subsidiary Saab Automobile A.B., which was declared bankrupt on December 19, 2011.
This lawsuit seeks redress for the unlawful actions GM took to avoid competition with Saab Automobile in the Chinese market. GM's actions had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy, a result of GM's tortiously interfering with a transaction between Saab Automobile, Spyker and Chinese investor Youngman that would have permitted Saab Automobile to restructure and remain a solvent, going concern. The monetary value of the claim amounts to US$ 3 billion (three billion US dollars).
Since Saab Automobile is in receivership and hence incapable to contribute to the costs of litigation, Spyker and Saab Automobile have entered into an agreement pursuant to which Spyker will bear the costs of such litigation in exchange for a very substantial share of Saab Automobile's award when the proceedings are successful. Spyker has secured the financial backing required to see the lawsuit through to the end from a third party investor.
Victor R. Muller, Spyker's Chief Executive Officer said: "Ever since we were forced to file for Saab Automobile's bankruptcy in December of last year, we have worked relentlessly on the preparation for this lawsuit which seeks to compensate Spyker and Saab for the massive damages we have incurred as a result of GM's unlawful actions.
We owe it to our stakeholders and ourselves that justice is done and we will pursue this lawsuit with the same tenacity and perseverance that we had when we tirelessly worked to save Saab Automobile, until GM destroyed those efforts and deliberately drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy."
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