Indian billionaire Anand Mahindra is close to sealing a long-anticipated deal to buy NEVS-Saab, marking the tycoon’s latest attempt to accelerate his company’s global expansion by acquiring a premium auto brand.
Mahindra has been attempting to source an internationally recognized brand for several years and was a bidder for Saab prior to the Swedish automaker’s eventual sale to NEVS two years ago. Other brands that Mahindra has bid on in the past include Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover and Ssangyong, the latter of which it managed to acquire in 2010.
Mahindra is believed to be seeking a brand where it can market a premium SUV.
Mr Mahindra has launched a series of attempts to acquire upscale global brands, including an abortive bid for British luxury sports car maker Aston Martin in 2012, and a successful $466m deal for Korean SUV-maker Ssangyong in 2010.
Mahindra also tried to buy Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover in 2009, before ultimately losing out to Tata, another Indian conglomerate.
In 2013, Mr Mahindra told the FT that “we need brands, because the one thing you cannot build, if you want to grow globally at least – something that can take a lifetime, and we are in a hurry – is brands”.
“They have been doing value hunting wisely to get the best price for their targets, which would otherwise be overpriced. They have acquired troubled companies and turned those around successfully. This strategy has paid them rich dividends.”
NEVS – Who owns Saab currently
NEVS has milder expertise in building electric sedans which appears to be a strategic fit for M&M. The Swedish company has retrofitted the regular Saab 9-3 sedan with a battery pack and electric drive components procured from China. M&M had entered the electric vehicle space a few years ago, with its acquisition of Reva Electric Car Company. The Mumbai-based company has ambitious plans to expand its footprint in this category with at least three launches in a year.