By on May 2, 2009

Now that the no-money Fiatsco is (sort of) done and in the hands of the courts and armies of lawyers (what a reassuring thought), Fiat is fixing the sights of its lupara [see pic above] on another target that carries the ripe fruit of billions of government money: Opel.

“Now we have to concentrate on Opel,” Sergio Marchionne said in an interview with La Stampa. “They are our ideal partners.” (Reassuring thought #2: Chrysler must then be less than ideal . . . .) Reuters reports that “Marchionne coughed throughout the interview and admitted to being tired after months of talks leading up to the Chrysler deal,” giving rise to suspicion that Marchionne had contracted swine flu—an inherent risk when rolling with the pigs. Or it could be something worse than what a dose of Tamiflu could heal:

“We worked day and night, I spat blood,” Marchionne said. According to Bloomberg, Sergio will travel to Berlin on May 4 for talks with the German government “and offer less than €1billion for a stake in Opel.” The officials in Berlin probably will greet him wearing HAZMAT suits. At least he’ll be offering more than for Chrysler. Here, Sergio wanted to invest “not a cent”—which is probably what it’s worth.

Also different than with Chrysler, which nobody wanted, Sergio is facing stiff opposition at Opel. In the forefront: Magna, which appears to be everybody’s favorite son-in-law in Germany. Behind Magna: Russia’s Gaz, which wants to get its hands on Germanski technology for cheap. Or not so cheap given the state of the Russian Ruble.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports today that additional investors from Russia are interested in buying a stake in Opel, and that Magna-cum-Russia could put €5 billion on the table in Berlin. Sergio doesn’t have this kind of money.

But at least he has Italy’s Berlusconi on his side. Italys’s Prime Minister said Fiat’s deal with Chrysler was “absolutely positive” and would help drive the country out of the economic crisis. The Italian country. Speaking of Berlusconi, he claims that he’s the world’s most popular leader, Reuters reports.

That’s relatively humble, because Berlusconi already claimed that he is the Jesus Christ of Italian politics and once said he was second only to Napoleon, except taller. The approval rating of Berlusconi—who happens to control more than 90 percent of Italy’s television—is 75.2 percent, Berlusconi claims. He’s forgetting North Korea’s Dear Leader, who enjoys an approval rating of 100 percent—or else.

Anyway, Marchionne’s approval rating sunk where it hurts most: Financial Times reports that “Fiat’s share price fell 6 percent on Thursday as the deal was being finalized between Detroit and Washington.”

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8 Comments on “Fiat To Opel: Ti Amo Molto...”


  • avatar
    fincar1

    Iirc it’s usual when a big merger is underway for the stock of the acquiring company to fall in price a bit. I guess maybe that happens even when the acquiring company isn’t spending too much money.

    Maybe last year’s “Saturn” will be next year’s “Sebring”.

  • avatar
    kaleun

    I just looked up the Fiat cars
    http://www.fiat.de/cgi-bin/pbrand.dll/FIAT_GERMANY/showroom/showroom.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0994165110.1241289606@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccciadehdkhdhhmcefecejgdfkhdfjh.0
    Wow, they have 200 different small cars that overlap each other, their designers seems to have worked with Chrysler (since most of them are as ugly as Chryslers). they have one blockbuster (Panda… very little profit), chrysler has one (Wrangler, or RAM)… so both companies migth be agood fit for each other. bot at the bottom of reputation on each continent, both with a history of unreliability, both with a history of “courageous” designs, both with products they sell at a low price because no-one would pay a lot of money for those cars.

    Now I know why they want Opel, then they would have soem cars someone would want to buy … allthough http://www.opel.de/shop/cars/showroom/index.act they used to have good-looking cars before GM decided too much on design. It is a long time ago whne I was in Germany and Opel seemed to have nicer looking cars than VW. Now GM destroyed them as well.

    Well, if it wasn’t my tax money, I wouldn’t care… unfortunately I pay taxes in the US, my parents pay taxes in Germany… so we all have to subsidize Fiat’s business ventures.

  • avatar
    Petrus

    There used to be a time when the Germans didn’t see the Russians as their saviors…

    In fact, only the SPD sees the Russians that way, which seems to be some kind of nostalgia for the days of the socialist brethren from behind the Iron Curtain, except that in present-day Russia the socialist brethren have been replaced by a bunch of kleptocrats without any ideology.

    Anyway, I think that Marchionne is primarily after the South American operations of GM (where Fiat already holds a strong position). Taking over Opel wouldn’t be so popular with Berlusconi either, because it almost inevitably means that all but one or two of the Italian factories would close. Only Melfi and to a lesser extent Cassino reach anything even remotely close to the efficiency of the remaining Opel plants. I happen to think that 30.000 additional unemployed Italians would render Berlusconi somewhat less beloved…

    Marchionne’s moves in Germany are probably meant to (i) make the Russians and their Austrian-Canadian puppet Magna pony up some serious money for Opel, thus (ii) forcing them to relinquish any plans with regard to the South American operations. Government Motors will of course be a happy accomplice, since it means that in the end they’ll get far more for their European and South American subsidiaries than they initially hoped for.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    Give Silvio a break. Apart from Vaclav Klaus, he’s my favorite of the current crop of EU Leaders. Sarko, of course, has the most attractive wife.

    With out a doubt, the lunatic Zapatero ranks at the bottom.

  • avatar
    skor

    This certainly is a dilemma for the Germans. On the one hand, they see the Italians as their inferiors. On the other hand, there are thousands of elderly Eastern Front vets who wake up screaming in their nursing homes every morning. What to do?

  • avatar
    AG

    @ paris-dakar:
    I would have thought Sarkozy was your favorite. Considering he once referred to Algerian immigrants as vermin, he seems like your kind of guy.

  • avatar
    SpeedRacerrrrr

    @skor

    too funny!

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    @kaleun:
    Opel has been a wholly owned subsidiary for some 70 years or more. How long ago were you in Germany?


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