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Germany wants GM answer on Opel

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OPEL-RHJ/Germany’s Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is boldly telling the German public that he expects a “fundamental decision” from the board of General Motors on the future of Opel next week.

He goes further, saying in a television interview that with offers from Canadian car parts manufacturer Magna and Belgian-based investor RHJ International on the table, it is tme for GM to “give in”.

Given that GM has ignored or resisted all German pressure to dictate terms on the sale of its European arm so far, there’s no reason to think that it will change its stance.

But there are growing suggestions that the U.S. automaker has indeed made up its mind on which option it wants to recommend and that a meeting of the German government-backed trust set up to work through the sale of Opel will take place on September 10.

Driving an Opel round in circles

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Opel sign (Reuters photo)True to form, GM’s negotiator on the sale of Opel has poured cold water on expectations of a slam-dunk deal for Canadian car parts group Magna and its Russian backers.

John Smith (no relation, but I’m impressed by his negotiating) maintains in his blog that GM will compare the latest Magna offer with the proposal it has on the table from Belgium-based financial investor RHJ International.

Driving a hard bargain on GM’s Opel

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OPEL-RHJ/John Smith, General Motors’ chief negotiator on the sale of Opel, deserves a medal. But he certainly won’t be getting one from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Magna says it has reached an agreement in principle to buy a controlling stake in GM’s European unit. However, GM says it is going to think about the revised offer from the Canadian auto parts maker. It wants more details of the government financing package on offer before it can make up its mind.

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