At the Reuters Tech Summit, Trulia chief executive Pete Flint says private equity investors are starting to pull back from buying U.S. real estate, while overseas buyers are coming on strong once again. Video
NEW YORK - Dish Network Corp said it would not make a new offer to buy No. 3 U.S. wireless provider Sprint Nextel in time for a Tuesday deadline and will instead focus on its tender offer for Clearwire Corp.
WASHINGTON - Small business optimism rose to a one year-high in May, a hopeful sign for an economy that has hit a soft patch.
BEIJING/HONG KONG - China reiterated its opposition on Thursday to a European Union plan to limit airline carbon dioxide emissions and called for talks to resolve the issue a day after its major airlines refused to pay any carbon costs under the new law.
GM sale of Saab looms as speedy Koenigsegg steps up
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - General Motors GMGMQ.PK is close to selling its loss-making Saab unit after tiny Koenigsegg agreed to ride to the rescue of its fellow Swedish carmaker, a source familiar with the talks told Reuters.
A deal would put a company that has less than 50 employees and turns out only a handful of $1 million supercars in charge of Saab, which produces that many family cars every hour.
Sweden would also likely join other governments backing swift rescues of their biggest car companies with state guarantees to help save jobs and one of the country's biggest brand names.
Koenigsegg, whose slinky supercars can top 400 km/h (240 mph) and rank in Forbes magazine's list of the world's 10 most beautiful cars, is backed by Norwegian investors, a source told Reuters on Thursday.
The two sides have signed a letter of intent and financing has been agreed, leaving only minor issues to be resolved, the source said.
Saab said on its website on Friday that new ownership would be finalized in the early summer and Swedish television reported that a preliminary deal was now with the U.S. Treasury Department with further information expected to be released next week.
In Washington, GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson declined to comment on progress in the effort to find a buyer for Saab.
"Any material transaction we're involved in ... we would review what's gong on," Henderson told reporters. "We don't have anything to add."
Tough times are producing some surprising partnerships, including GM's tentative deal this month to sell Hummer, the expensive, gas-guzzling vehicle of choice for musicians and movie stars, to Sichuan Tengzhong, a Chinese company that makes cement mixers.
Italian maker Fiat (FIA.MI), which quit the U.S. market in 1983, is set to return under a new partnership with Chrysler while parts maker Magna International MGa.TO is in talks to buy GM's European operations centered on Germany's Opel.
"I'm concerned it doesn't have the scale or expertise to exist as a stand-alone business," said Nomura analyst Michael Tyndall regarding Koenigsegg.
Saab has not posted a profit in a decade.
"I struggle to see how smaller brands can exist as stand-alone operations -- the industry doesn't have a great track record on this," said Tyndall.
The global recession has slashed demand for cars and sent U.S. giants GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, leaving Ford (F.N) as the only one of the so-called Big Three not needing government aid.
Koenigsegg hails from the other end of the automotive spectrum, a tiny firm operating out of an aircraft hangar set up in 1994 by young entrepreneur Christian von Koenigsegg, who pocketed some of his fortune selling frozen chickens.
Saab's future could see it turn into a much smaller, niche player, according to Mikael Wickelgren, a vehicle expert lecturer at the University of Skovde, Sweden..
"Saab probably would move toward more specialized, niche cars for a smaller customer base," said Wickelgren.
"It is a strategy that one has actually heard Saab speak of, but which has been difficult to achieve in a GM context. GM only thinks about volumes."
Saab produced nearly 100,000 cars off last year, about 1 percent of GM's global output.
GM put the company up for sale earlier this year and held talks with a number of potential buyers, including Fiat (FIA.MI) and Chinese automakers. Talks narrowed to two or three unnamed bidders in recent weeks.
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