Thursday, December 24, 2009

GM: Opel's New Owner to be Chosen by end of May

In a news conference in Detroit today, General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson told reporters that the company will single out a buyer for Opel and its British sister brand Vauxhall, before the end of May. "We are speaking with multiple bidders. We would like to have at least some understanding of what the agreement might look like no later than the end of this month, slightly before the end of this month," Henderson said. According to media reports, Italy's Fiat Group and Austrian-Canadian supplier Magna International have emerged as the two most serious bidders for GM's European arm.

Even though officially the German government will not have a say on which company should buy Opel, Henderson made it clear that GM's choice will be influenced by Berlin. "We are going to make sure any partner we pick is going to be suitable for them (the German government). We need their support," Henderson was quoted saying.

And by support, Hendersdon means the €2.6 billion or about $3.5 billion in loan guarantees that Opel is seeking from the German government in order to keep afloat.

GM has not disclosed any details on how much of Opel and Vauxhall it will sell, but it is clear that the American automaker would like to keep a minority stake in the new company. "We have indicated a willingness to move into a minority position. But we need to negotiate something before we say what it is," said Henderson

Via: AN (Sub. Req.)

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