General Motors (GM) said on Monday that it had received three binding takeover offers for Opel that it would consider together with the European countries that would be affected by the deal.
In a surprise move, the once heavily favored consortium of Magna and Sberbank changed its plans at the last minute and agreed that they would evenly split a stake in Opel, in a concession to critics, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. “The final bids as well as GM's preliminary findings will then be reviewed with the German and other impacted governments, the EU Commission and the Opel/Vauxhall Trust Board,” GM Europe said in a statement released after the deadline for submissions, without naming the bidders. Berlin is expected to have a large say in the decision, since it would provide the bulk of up to €4.5 billion ($6.4 billion) in expected loan guarantees for Opel. Earlier, Magna and Brussels-based private equity firm RHJ International said they would submit final bids, while a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that China's Beijing Automotive also delivered a binding offer for Opel and its UK sister brand Vauxhall. Magna and Russian partner Sberbank now aim to each take a 27.5% stake in Opel. Magna, an auto parts maker from Aurora, Canada, originally planned to take just 20% percent, with the Kremlin-backed lender holding the remaining 35%. The change could help soothe concerns in Germany over the potential influence of the Russian bank, which weeks ago began to talk about selling the possible stakeholding in Opel to a domestic carmaker. (Reuters)