SVD.se has a rather explosive article in its online newspaper today. Pingu raised it in comments and I’ve tracked it down online. Even when reading it via Google Translate, you can tell that this one’s got BIG written all over it.
A tangent, if I may….
It’d be nice if someone’s reputation was completely trashed as a result of this story. It’d be nice if they were exposed, hung out to dry and rendered unable to work in their chosen field of employment ever again.
Because someone’s lying here. Either someone at NEVS is playing fast and loose with the truth – which has massive ramifications – or one (or more) of the journalists at SVD is treading on extremely thin ice. Regardless of who is in the wrong, neither of them should be lying as part of their job – if they’re doing their job right.
The story goes like this….. (according to SVD)
SVD claim that Mahindra effectively pulled out of negotiations in November last year after Saab AB demanded a fee for use of the Saab name. Mahindra were reportedly unprepared for this and it didn’t suit their business case, so they withdrew from negotiations.
Despite withdrawing, Mahindra was happy to sign a letter of intent, which effectively gave NEVS their second reconstruction period. You might remember that they were supposed to do due-diligence work in December and if they were happy, they’d fund the continuing reconstruction work through January and February.
SVD believes that whole scenario was a ruse designed to get NEVS through a second reconstruction period, and agreed to by Mahindra.
The consequences are huge if this story is true. The consequences ought to be huge for SVD if the story is false (and as Pingu points out, it’s very interesting that such an important story doesn’t have a writer’s byline attached to it).
If this story is true, NEVS must stand accused of having lied to its creditors and lied to the court on more than one occasion. NEVS stand accused of lying about the state of negotiations and prospects for a successful exit from reconstruction. And NEVS would stand accused of lying about this not once, but systematically for a number of months.
Note: NEVS was granted a further 3-months of reconstruction time earlier this week, so the alleged lie continues (if that’s what it is – read on).
It’s one thing to give half-truths to the press in the name of media management. That’s breakfast, lunch and dinner for a company press officer. It’s another thing all together to systematically lie to your creditors and the courts in a bankruptcy procedure. That’s well past the point of no return.
If this story is true, Mahindra has been complicit in these lies. I’m not sure what burden they might bear under Swedish law for this type of behaviour but let’s just say they wouldn’t be on many people’s Christmas card lists.
Someone’s head has to roll for this. Either someone at NEVS will be reduced to pumping gas at a station out in the woods or an unnamed journalist ought to investigate a career flipping burgers.
The form guide suggests it should be the journalist. The Swedish press loves a good beat-up and there’s been no bigger target than Saab Automobile over the last 6 years.
A few weeks ago, SVD wrote that there were no ongoing talks between Saab AB and a foreign carmaker in relation to use of the Saab brand name. SVD gave the impression that no continuous talks meant that the deal had fallen through and was off the table.
Saabtala spoke with Saab AB’s press officer and got more information, which cast SVD’s article in a dubious light. Saabtala was told that “There are no ongoing discussions between with Us (SAAB AB) NEVS or a new majority owner. There has not been for some months now. However that does No rule out that the discussion we have had was fruitful or that a contact is being kept between us and the proposed new majority owner of NEVS”.
It’s not a confirmation that everything’s A-OK, that’s for sure. But it’s far from the disaster that SVD painted it to be.
I’d also like to point out my own chat with the gypsies, which yielded that the buyer(s) currently in talks for the purchase of Saab is/are the same buyer(s) that have been in play all along. If it was Mahindra as far back as August, then it’s still Mahindra now.
So this week, with another reconstruction deadline looming (Saab has a creditors meeting coming up on March 23 to formally agree on debt reduction) SVD seem to be timing stories to crank up the pressure on NEVS and Saab AB.
This story’s a big one, for the reasons outlined above. Someone’s lying to someone and that someone ought never be in a position to lie about something important ever again.
It’ll be interesting to see who that is. That’s for sure.