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GM reports progress in Opel talks with bidders
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10:23, August 07, 2009

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General Motors Co. reported progress Thursday in the talks for the sale of its German-based Adam Opel carmaker with bidder Magna International Inc.

GM Group Vice President John Smith said in a blog posting that GM had held meetings over the past week with Magna, a big Canadian supplier, and the other remaining bidder for Opel, Brussels-based RHJ International (RHJI), to discuss their final proposals submitted last month.

"As the RHJI proposal is the simpler of the two, there were very few significant issues with this offer, so most of our time has been spent working with the Magna and Sberbank team," Smith said, referring to Magna's partner, Russia's state-control Sberbank. ," Smith said.

"We started the week with about 30 issues to resolve, including New Opel involvement with Chevrolet in Russia, intellectual property transfer rights in Russia, advanced technology access, product development responsibilities, minority shareholder rights and other items," Smith said.

"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," he said.

The Opel negotiations have been difficult because many parties are involved, including German federal and state officials. Ruesselsheim-based Opel employs 25,000 people in Germany.

Russia's Sberbank, which would acquire 27.5 percent of Opel under Magna's latest proposal, has said it expected to transfer that stake to a Russian automaker.


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