Timeline: Spyker clinches last-minute Saab buy

(Reuters) - Tiny Dutch sportscar maker Spyker clinched a last-minute deal on Tuesday to buy Sweden’s Saab, in an audacious attempt to turn around a money-losing brand that only days ago was headed for oblivion.

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’s 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 2 - Dutch luxury car maker Spyker says it is talking to GM about buying Saab.

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 deadline.

January 6 - Saab enthusiasts rally in Detroit, gathering with their beloved cars next to GM’s headquarters, and holding “Save Saab” banners.

January 7 - A Swedish newspaper reports that two Swedish groups are likely to make last-minute bids for the GM unit.

-- GM CEO Ed Whitacre says there is little chance of saving Saab.

January 8 - Spyker submits an improved bid.

-- Formula One motor racing mogul Bernie Ecclestone teams up with Luxembourg-based private equity group Genii Capital to bid for Saab.

-- GM names a restructuring firm to manage the wind-down of Saab, even as it reviews bids to buy the unit.

January 12 - GM gives its clearest signal yet that Saab is doomed, as Whitacre tells journalists at the Detroit Auto Show “We’re closing down Saab”.

-- Spyker’s Muller says he is “working around the clock” to clinch a deal for Saab, and hopes for a deal within days, not weeks.

January 13 Genii Capital says it has revised its Saab bid.

January 17 - Spyker’s Muller denies a German media report that it will bid jointly with Genii Capital for Saab.

January 21 - Spyker’s Muller says talks with GM are nearing an outcome.

January 25 - Spyker shares soar on speculation it is closing in on a deal.

January 26 - Spyker clinches a last-minute deal to buy Saab after exhaustive negotiations.

-- A source familiar with the matter says the deal was worth $400 million, $74 million of which is in cash, the rest in deferred shares.

Sources: Reuters/ (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial reference Unit, and Helen Massy-Beresford, editing by Will Waterman)