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Penske interested in Saturn?

by Andrew Ganz

Successful racing legend Roger Penske, whose post-competition accomplishments include importing and distributing Smart minicars, renting moving vans and trucks and running the third-largest new-car dealer group in the United States, is apparently interested in buying the Saturn brand off of General Motors.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the CEO of Penske Automotive Group is a possible bidder for the brand that GM thought it would have to close. The paper didn't cite anyone beyond "people familiar with the situation."

"We look at things all the time," Tony Pordon, a spokesman for Penske Automotive Group, told the Detroit News. "We have been offered an opportunity to look at Saturn. It's very premature to assume anything will be done. I can confirm to you that we are looking at it."

Yesterday, the Detroit automaker confirmed that it will retain Steve Girsky of S.J. Girsky & Company to help review the interest it has had from outside parties in Saturn. Penske is the second apparently serious bidder to be made public. Black Oak Partners LLC, an Oklahoma City-based private equity firm, teamed up with a number of dealers to make an offer to buy Saturn's assets and distribution network with the intention of creating department store-style retailers that would sell a variety of new car lines.

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