Well, this spoof certainly worked! I started getting 'wow, really big news!' emails just minutes after I posted the story below soon after midnight. A number of those taken in by the prank, including a trade news website, can be seen here.
Specialized was not in on the joke. Nor was the San Jose Business Journal. That page was a brilliant fake by Richard Masoner of US blog Cyclelicio.us. Also in on the joke, and helping to spread the misinformation, was Tim Grahl and Arleigh Jenkins of Commute by Bike.
Over on Bicycleretailer.com, Specialized Founder Mike Sinyard laughed at the prank and said:
"If it had been BMW or Porsche, now that would have been exciting. But GM?"
Specialized UK's Richard Hemington said:
"I would have preferred Aston Martin!"
Here's a big sorry to Specialized and to any out there on the interweb who may have been fooled, even momentarily. Apologies also to Chris Carmichael. That's him in the pic with Mike Sinyard, not a bike-mad GM exec.
General Motors has acquired Specialized Bicycle Components, reports the San Jose Business Journal. The boards of directors of both companies approved the acquisition earlier today. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2008 pending regulatory approval in the US, Canada and Europe. Terms of the all-share acquisition from Specialized Founder and President Mike Sinyard and Merida of Taiwan were not disclosed.
The deal does not include GM acquiring any of the 19 Specialized Concept Stores, a retail formula launched in 2006. All Specialized Concept Stores are independently owned.
GM's vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy, Flora Lopi, said:
"In light of global concerns about climate change, GM has been at the forefront in developing new transportation choices that limit our impact on the environment. GM's engineering and marketing and distribution expertise combined with Specialized's branding among cycling enthusiasts make this a winning combination for GM investors and consumers."
Specialized founder and president Mike Sinyard said:
"All of us here at Specialized are thrilled to be a part of GM.
"Specialized will maintain commitment to the IBD as well as now being available across the nation in GM dealerships. These are quality retail outlets, not big box discounters. Specialized will never be available in mass merchants.
"The acquisition by GM will enhance the service to the specialty retail channel, increase investments in dedicated merchandising programs, introduce sales efforts in mainstream outlets, support advocacy and the activity of cycling, invest and expand in Europe and, most important, bolster an already strong research and development budget.
"We will introduce some interesting advances in bike technology at the Interbike trade show later this year, especially in the area of transportation cycling, the fastest growing sector of the bicycle market in the US."
Sinyard is contracted to stay on through until the end of March 2009. Robert Kruse, currently executive director of Vehicle Integration, Safety, Regional Chief Engineers and Performance Division for GM's North America engineering staff will work alongside Sinyard. No other management changes have been announced. Kruse is a keen road cyclist, having three times ridden RAGBRAI, a newspaper-sponsored annual bike ride across Iowa.
GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said:
"We're starting our second century at a time of fundamental change in the way we address our transportation needs. In addition to our leadership role in developing the next generation of more sustainable technologies in hybrid and alternative fuel engines, we'll leverage the unique synergies of the bicycle community to introduce some of our ideas for addressing critical issues concerning energy, the environment and globalisation."
General Motors Corp is the world's largest automaker. Founded in 1908, GM has 274,000 employees worldwide. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling.
Specialized Bicycle Components was founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard. The company sold a large minority stake to Merida of Taiwan in 2001.
The San Jose Business Journal reports there's to be a conference call with Sinyard and Robert Kruse, pictured above, later today. BikeBiz.com will book a slot on the call so stay tuned for an update this afternoon.
If you have a question for Sinyard or the GM execs, use the comments system below and we'll aim to use some of your questions during the conference call, which starts at midday, US mountain time.