Timeline: Saab future hangs in balance

Thu Jan 7, 2010 9:56am EST

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(Reuters) - Bidders in Sweden and the Netherlands were making last-ditch efforts on Thursday to buy local carmaker Saab, hours before a deadline set by owner General Motors to sell or close the Swedish firm.

Following are key events in Saab since GM took over the carmaker:

2000 - GM takes 100 percent ownership of Saab.

January 11, 2009 - GM says it has been in talks to sell Saab.

January 12 - Sweden says it will not take a stake in Saab or give more aid.

February 20 - A Swedish court grants Saab protection from creditors as it tries to find a new partner and raise fresh funds.

February 23 - Sweden says it can guarantee a European Investment Bank loan to Saab if a new owner emerges that can cover half the necessary financing.

August 18 - Swedish sports carmaker Koenigsegg agrees to terms with GM on a deal to buy Saab.

September 9 - Chinese state-run company Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings (BAIC) inks deal to take a minority stake in Koenigsegg as part of the deal to buy Saab.

November 24 - Koenigsegg says it has pulled out of talks to buy Saab. Sweden effectively rules out a state bailout.

November 25 - BAIC says it is reviewing its options.

November 27 - GM says it is talking to possible buyers of Saab, four days before a GM board meeting considers whether to attempt to revive a sale process or close the 60-year-old firm.

December 1 - GM board says it will consider offers on the brand until the end of December and will then decide whether to close Saab if it appears the unit cannot be sold.

December 7 - GM in talks with BAIC about a partial sale of Saab assets, including tooling and technology.

December 14 - BAIC says it has acquired some Saab assets, including intellectual property for the 9-5 and 9-3 model platforms and some production equipment.

December 18 - GM says it will start an orderly wind-down of Saab, saying the Spyker deal could not be completed in reasonable time.

December 20 - Spyker submits a new, fast-track bid for Saab and, separately, GM says it will evaluate several new expressions of interest.

December 30 - GM extends a December 31 deadline for bids for Saab, which will restart production lines in January after a shutdown, Saab says. Spyker CEO Victor Muller says GM has extended the deadline for a final offer from the Dutch carmaker until January 7.

January 4, 2010 - Spyker says it will submit a final bid for Saab assets before a 2200 GMT (5 p.m. EST) deadline.

Sources: Reuters/ www.saabusa.com;

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial reference Unit; Editing by Greg Mahlich.)

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