"Little Progress" Made in Opel Talks

Negotiations between Germany and Opel on one side and the two interested bidders, RHJ and Magna, on the other continue but only "little progress" was made these days, John Smith, GM Group Vice President (and GM’s chief negotiator for the sale of a stake in Opel/Vauxhall), revealed.

Because RHJ's takeover proposal is much simpler than Magna's, General Motors and German officials mostly negotiate with Magna whose bid is more complex and includes Russia plus a third, Russian-based investor. No less than 30 issues have been identified in Magna's proposal so the parties are now discussing the best ways to resolve them.

NewOpel involvement with Chevrolet in Russia, intellectual property transfer rights in Russia, advanced technology access, product development responsibilities and minority shareholder rights are just some of them.

"I can report some progress, resolving perhaps one-third of the issues during a first day of talks. However, the difficulties of getting to ‘yes’ with three parties in the room were very much in evidence yesterday. Little progress was made in whittling down the outstanding issues, in part reflecting the return of some issues that we previously considered to be resolved," John Smith said.

Unfortunately for people who hoped to see Opel being sold in the next few days, GM Europe expects more issues to appear in the next few days, some of them raised by the suitors.

"As we work through the detailed draft agreements over the next couple of days, it appears likely that more issues will be raised by the investors, especially in the engineering services and technical license areas," Smith added.

General Motors continues to support RHJ and emphasizes that its offer is easier to implement because it requires less government-backed funding compared to Magna and Sberbank.

"In discussions with the German automotive task force this week, we continued to discuss and contrast the relative commercial merits of the two proposals. Some might recall analysis done by the German government’s advisor, Lazard, such evaluation leaving a strong impression that the RHJI bid was superior." 
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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