Opel Seeks Experienced Help

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
opel seeks experienced help

So far, GM isn’t very successful in finding a suitor for Opel and Vauxhall. Now, they’ve hired professional help. Their choice is interesting. According to the Financial Times, GM is about to contract German Commerzbank to be the matchmaker and to help find an investor in Opel and Vauxhall. GM said it was willing to cede control of its European arm in exchange for €3.3bn ($4.4bn) in European government funds needed to keep it afloat. Government enthusiasm for such a cash injection seems to be waning.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the German economics minister, said last week that there were several “serious and non-serious” investors that have expressed interest in Opel. Apparently, they were mostly non-serious, otherwise no help would have been needed. On Thursday, Guttenberg said it was unlikely that Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, and Barack Obama would reach an agreement on the future of Opel when they meet in Germany next week.

Commerzbank is no stranger to government bailout money. A few months ago, the German government dumped €16.4bn into Commerzbank, which makes the Government a 25 percent owner. Well, make that “attempted to dump:”

Brussels, which has a watchful eye on the bailout activities of its member states, especially when it comes to cars, isn’t enthusiastic about the Government’s engagement into Commerzbank. After free trade commissar Nellie Kroes voiced her concerns about Berlin’s cohabitation with Commerzbank, the second tranche was tabled. Also, Commerzbank is the target of several lawsuits by disgruntled shareholders.

Nice family.

Join the conversation
  • Erikhans Erikhans on Mar 27, 2009

    It seems that GM has dropped the ball with Europe. They should have followed Fords lead immediately (with regards to Volvo).

  • Dave Dave on Mar 27, 2009

    They tried to, but the sad fact is that Opel, Saab and Vauxhall are tainted by the GM mothership so there seems to be no real interest. OTOH, doesn't every company retain banks to help them sell operations they no longer want?

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Mar 27, 2009

    Thank you for reminding me of one of my favourite scenes from Office Space.