Magna Marries Opel, Presumably

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Magna and their Russian buddies Sberbank have a deal with GM: The Austro/Canadian/Russian combine will buy a 55 percent stake in Opel. That according to Magna Co-Chief Executive Siegfried Wolf who just told it to Reuters.

Not so fast, says Der Spiegel. A contract with RHJ is also ready to be signed.

Then, GM will ask the German government how much they would be willing to supply in tax payer’s money for each suitor. (The chances stand at €4b for Magna, €0 for RHJ.) Then, a recommendation will be made to the GM BOD.

Then, the matter needs to be approved by various governments. Don’t kiss the bride yet.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Stingray Stingray on Aug 13, 2009

    I read yesterday in the local news that Chancellor Merkel "openly" favored Magna... and was going to discuss the matter in her next visit to Russia. So much for time making...

  • Menno Menno on Aug 13, 2009

    I understand the deal is essentially done and clearly spelled out to GM. If anybody but Magna gets Opel, NO MONEY FROM THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT. So, sure, GM is "free" to sell Opel elsewhere. But the buyer won't get any state monies, which will ruin the viability. (OK let's be honest; Opel's as much a zombie as GM is).

  • Akear Akear on Aug 13, 2009

    If the deal goes through does this mean GM will no longer count Opel in their world sales list. That means they will never catch Toyota and VW. GM's European sales will now consists of a few thousand Chevrolets and Cadillacs.

  • Rnc Rnc on Aug 13, 2009

    I don't know about the counting part, they count sales from a Chinese subsidiary that they don't own a majority of. Anyone know why they could do it with China but not Opel? And yes I would have to imagine that when you are designing your mass-market european mid-size to be 80% as good (or was it 80% of the performance?) as your main competitor you would qualify as a zombie, but would imagine the sinking mother ship pulls down the life rafts as well, would have to wait until it has a chance to float on its own. Will they be blocked out of the US and China?